Ursula Haverbeck: This is how the judge justifies the judgment against the Holocaust denier
December 4, 2020
At the very end of the trial against Holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck, the judge in the Berlin-Tiergarten district court quotes Oskar Gröning – the former SS man who was convicted in 2015 at the age of 94 for complicity in murder in 300,000 cases. In the trial before the Lüneburg district court, Holocaust survivors reported about the horror in Auschwitz. Groening also spoke of the gas chambers, of the screams and of an SS man who threw a baby with full force against a truck.
Ursula Haverbeck was among the spectators in the 2015 trial against Gröning. That hasn’t changed anything about their propaganda. The 92-year-old continues to question the murder of millions of Jews. At the time, on the sidelines of the trial, NDR reporters asked Gröning what he was giving to Holocaust deniers. Groening’s answer: “They are irredeemably lost.” It is this sentence that the judge is now quoting in Berlin.
Ursula Haverbeck is also said to be “irredeemably lost”. The old woman doesn’t hear the judge’s sentence that day. On the first day of the trial she was still in the room. But the court has allowed her to stay away from the verdict. So she didn’t have to travel back to Berlin from North Rhine-Westphalia, where she lives. Anyway, it is out of the question that words could have any effect on the notorious Holocaust denier.
In an interview with a YouTuber who calls himself “Volkslehrer” and which he published in March 2018, Haverbeck played down and denied Nazi crimes. In the approximately 15-minute long video, she called for “to work to ensure that this lie, this burden of debt,” which lay on the German people, is “lifted”. Haverbeck denies the industrially organized mass murder of six million Jews. Haverbeck says she never got an answer to the question “where the six million Jews were gassed”.
“I find it unbearable to have to hear such statements,” says the judge in his verdict. “You are a mockery of the victims.” In absentia, the court sentenced Haverbeck to one year imprisonment, without parole, for sedition. The verdict is not yet legally binding.
It is not Haverbeck’s first conviction for sedition. The court does not believe that the 92-year-old will change her behavior either. “I fear that there is a risk of repetitions,” says the judge. But the purpose of punishment is not only to affect the individual, but also to sanction misconduct. The court took Haverbeck’s old age and the associated sensitivity to detention into mitigation.
The public prosecutor’s office had asked for a year and three months’ imprisonment. Haverbeck sells the “Auschwitz lie” as truth and denies the historical fact of the Holocaust.
The defender portrays her as a victim
Defense attorney Wolfram Nahrath presented his client as a victim in his closing lecture. Ursula Haverbeck was “a sensitive, sensitive and intelligent person”. Nahrath asks: “How do people like Frau Haverbeck have to be?” People who made themselves liable to prosecution if they expressed their convictions. These people are forced to remain silent. And that is a situation that makes you sick.
Haverbeck could not deny anything that she did not recognize as fact due to a “profound, firmly established misconception”, said the defense attorney. Nahrath urged the court to “show mercy.” “Isn’t it time to leave this old lady alone?” His client did not know that the “conversation” with the “people’s teacher” should be published. You have therefore not consented to publication. Nahrath requested acquittal.
Ursula Haverbeck knew exactly what she was doing – however, the court found. The interview was not a private conversation with Nikolai Nerling, the self-proclaimed “people’s teacher”. He greeted the audience with “Hello friends”, mentioned that “many” would now see their conversation, and Ursula Haverbeck also spoke into the camera. “The video was intended for publication,” says the judge – and Haverbeck was aware of that.
She wasn’t there, says Haverbeck
Haverbeck’s assertion that she only asked questions, the court exposes as a rhetorical device. From the context it can be seen that her statement that there was no evidence of the murder of millions of times should mean that there was no systematic mass murder.
On the first day of the trial, Haverbeck had said that she could not recognize the Holocaust as a fact because, although she was born during the Nazi era, she had not become an eyewitness to the crimes. She wasn’t there, she said.
“Personally, I have never seen the world from space,” says the judge, “but I know that the world is not flat.”