The journalist who interviewed a neo-Nazi for Germany’s Vanity Fair filed charges against him.
Michel Friedman – a journalist, attorney and former leader in the German Jewish community – wanted to interview far-rightist Horst Mahler about his roots as a founding member of the left-extremist Red Army Faction for the trendy magazine.
Mahler, 71, who famously underwent a transformation to the extreme right, reportedly greeted Friedman with “Heil Hitler” and, during the course of the two-hour interview, denied the Holocaust occured and called Hitler the savior of “not only the German people.” The interview, in German, is currently online and in the printed version of Germany’s Vanity Fair.
After the interview, Friedman filed suit as a private individual against Mahler because of his “incendiary” remarks. Friedman commented that the danger of Nazism “is not only a reality of the past but also of the present.”
It is illegal in Germany to glorify Hitler, deny the Holocaust and to repeat National Socialist propaganda, including emblems and greetings.
German Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Ulf Poschardt said the magazine wanted to confront Germans with the reality of an ideology that too many of them secretly approve, according to recent opinion polls.
“Michel Friedman’s courageous interview gives an important insight into the deep chasms that this society must confront,” Poschardt said. In his editorial he acknowledges that Mahler says things “that are banned in Germany.”
Mahler was released from jail in August after serving nine months for incitement to hate. He is facing charges for having raised his arm in the banned Hitler salute and uttering the Hitler greeting when he was led to his jail cell last year. The prosecution is pushing for another nine months behind bars.
Mahler and his lawyer, Sylvia Stolz, called the judge in the case a “slave to the state.”