“lost cause”

Far from being a “neo-Nazi” as Turley describes her, Ms. Haverbeck appears to be a very nice and sensible woman who asks where the death of six million people took place, and no one in authority who should know can answer her.

This illustrates a consequence described in a July 7th post, that the principle of legal certainty that a crime was committed has never been established in any legal proceeding, nor is it observed. 

It seems to me that Ms. Haverbeck is a courageous woman who has simply said that she is too old to accept the continued vilification of all Germans without the most basic evidence that would be established by a court of law in the death of a single victim, let alone millions.



“She Is A Lost Cause”: 87-Year-Old German Grandmother Jailed For Denying Auschwitz Was A Death Camp

by Jonathan Turley, johnathonturley.org

November 16, 2015

We have been following the rapid decline of free speech rights in Europe and Canada. Germany has long been the subject of criticism from the free speech movement. The country has long criminalized speech dealing with World War II and the Nazis. While the real benefit of those laws has been questioned given the long existence of a neo-Nazi groups in the country, prosecutors continue to bring troubling charges against those who voice unpopular or obnoxious beliefs in prohibited areas. The latest is Ursula Haverbeck, an 87-year-old German Neo-Nazi grandmother who has been sentenced to 10 months in prison after being found guilty of denying the Holocaust. She does not believe that the Holocaust was real but, rather than leaving the matter to open debate, the Germans are imprisoning her for either not changing her mind or not staying silent about her views.

220px-auschwitz_entranceHaverbeck was charged earlier this year after giving an interview outside the trial of former SS Sgt. Oskar Groening claiming Auschwitz wasn’t a death camp. She challenged the presiding judge in Hamburg to prove that Auschwitz was a death camp. However, the judge responded that he said he wouldn’t debate someone who “can’t accept any facts.”

Magistrate Bjoern Joensson added” “Neither do I have to prove to you the world is round.” That would seem a fine response and the matter should have been closed.

However, the government then proceeded to arrest her. I have little sympathy for Haverbeck who appears and ardent Nazi. However, free speech often requires us to fight for the rights of people who we dislike or even despise.

While I am certainly sympathetic to the Germans in seeking to end the scourge of fascism, I have long been a critic of the German laws prohibiting certain symbols and phrases, I view it as not just a violation of free speech but a futile effort to stamp but extremism by barring certain symbols. Instead, extremists have rallied around an underground culture and embraced symbols that closely resemble those banned by the government. I fail to see how arresting a man for a Hitler ringtone or forcing companies to remove the number “88” from products is achieving a meaningful level of deterrence, even if you ignore the free speech implications. What it does do is given people like Haverbeck the status of victims. It allows Holocaust deniers to argue that the government will not allow people to utter what they claim is the “truth.” History can take care of itself as can free speech. The criminalization of unpopular views only fuels the ignorance and claims of persecution by this small minority.

Judge Joensson said in the most recent case “It is deplorable that this woman, who is still so active given her age, uses her energy to spread such hair-raising nonsense . . . She is a lost cause.” It is nonsense but the government has made it a serious matter by criminalizing views deemed nonsensical. That is more than nonsense it is dangerous. It is free speech that seems the lost cause in Germany.


Professor Jonathan Turley is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. He has written over three dozen academic articles that have appeared in a variety of leading law journals at Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Northwestern, University of Chicago, and other schools.



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11 Responses to ““lost cause””

  1. 1 Ronnie Savill
    November 25, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Dan sorry it’s me again commenting on one of your posts. That woman is a stupid bitch. There is so much evidence that a crime the Holocaust happened. I have family who were in Bergen Belsen. Family who saw first hand what the Germans did during the Holocaust. The only story I’ve ever really been told is the day the British arrived to liberate the camp. The Germans were still killing people even as the British tanks drive thru the gates. And the British shot quite a few of the Germans that day. The British sent away the young soldiers and brought up older more experienced troops as the sights were the most horrendous anyone had ever seen. People died out of sheer relief at liberation. The way it has been described to me they relaxed after the liberation and without living on the edge their bodies just shut down. Anne Frank died in Belsen.

    So that German woman might be all old and frail. I have zero sympathy. There is an ginormous amount of evidence including from first hand witnesses who were in the camps telling their stories. So that stupid woman deserves jail. She’s talking out of her arse as we say here. It only goes to prove the older Germans were nazis by choice and sympathy. They have no excuse for what they did.

    My mom tells me their are other stories. But it always upset her to tell them and I’ve always been considered too young to hear them. I’m the baby of the family.

    So anyway Dan hope your keeping alright and I hope your not going to start a crusade for that woman she is a singularly undeserving case for any sympathy. She’s in the right place.

    Bye Dan. Look after yourself.


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. November 25, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    I’d be curious to know what this man would have thought about this charming old lady:

    Robert Salomon was aged 19 when the Nazis deported him as partisan. He was one of the last survivor from camp of Struthof-Natzweiler and died last week at age 90. Despite this, in his last speech, he invited young people to build a more fraternal world over borders.
    If you understand French:

  3. 3 Frank Manning
    November 25, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I wholeheartedly second everything Ronnie has said in his comment above. As a native New Yorker I met many Holocaust survivors and heard way too many horrific stories. I even wrote a Wandervogel blog entry, Abie, about a survivor I came to know and love. The Holocaust happened. It is real. No one has to prove anything in a court of law. That legalistic bullshit was dealt with at Nuremberg and elsewhere after the war. If you want to challenge that verdict of history, I ask how many guns do you have vs. how many we have. That’s how we will settle THAT argumernt! The only squabble worthy of any interest that I have heard is over whether 5 million or 6 million were killed. Even that nonsense makes my blood boil. When you’ve gone past the first MILLION murdered just for being Jews, what the fuck does it matter!

    Having said the above, I also agree with Jonathan Turley. I am an American, and am prepared to use all necessary means to preserve, protect, and defend our Constitution. I am especially adamant about our First Amendment, which protects ALL speech no matter how odious anyone may find it. “Hate speech” as a crime cannot exist in the USA, precisely because the First Amendment prohibits such a criminalization of “mere speech”. It is a fundamental principle of American jurisprudence that “mere speech is not actionable”, that is, no one can be prosecuted just for saying something somebody else doesn’t like.

    Now that doesn’t mean people can’t ract to hateful speech such as Holocaust denial. That “stupid bitch … talking out of her arse”, as Ronnie so eloquently put it, surely deserves a cream pie in her face, but jail time No! She can blow as much hot air out of her ass as she wants (as we put it over here), and nobody has to stand by and let her fetid fumes go unchallenged.

  4. 4 Hat Bailey
    November 25, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    After reading the posts concerning this blog entry it seems to me that the point is being missed. The question is not whether atrocities were committed and evil done, but whether you are willing to support the right to speak freely your own opinions. If you don’t love the freedom of others to speak their truth how can you rely on your right to freely speak your opinion? Loving other people’s freedom to think, speak and live as they wish is as important as loving your own. There are many different viewpoints and I have learned through long experience that people usually have some reason for why they believe what they do. Intelligent people can offer facts that support their views and sometimes there turns out to be evidence that is very compelling for things that once seemed to be to be absurd. I no longer jump to swift conclusions about what the actual facts are. I have seen very convincing arguments and evidence that the moon landings were faked. Very good evidence also seems to exist for the fact that it happened. I now am willing to concede that I really don’t know even after extensive personal research exactly what happened. However, the real question is whether I can tolerate other people with contrary views that are opposed to mine and allow them to express themselves without trying to use the armed agents of so called “government” to force people to shut up that I don’t agree with, or even like. This seems to be the point that Dan is trying to make. Even the work that he is doing can seem controversial to some people who enjoy seeing young men punished severely and their lives ruined because of some serious crime, and they don’t want to hear rational explanations about why this is not always the best and most rewarding way of handling justice issues.

    • 5 tape
      December 28, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      It is not an opinion. It is denial of a well researched and documented truth, which is a direct insult towards the victims and their relatives, but meanwhile also two entire generations of germans, who continue to take the responsibility for something happening well before they were born. Germany went through a painful process (which is still going on) of working through the crimes committed in those 12 years, and while there were a lot mistakes made, the effort is still widely unmatched by any other nation with comparable black ages in their past. We are happy when the success of teenie bands like Tokio Hotel or the well reception of some movie in israel give just a hint of the feeling that the relationship is on the beginning of appearing “normal” and then such an old bitch comes along and craps all over those efforts. Under a regime like the one she is so keen on bringing back, a traitor like her would have been hanged without even seeing a judge. So if anything she should be thankful that we don’t live in times as barbaric as the ones of her choice.

      • 6 Hat Bailey
        December 30, 2015 at 5:12 pm

        You’re comments in regard to my comments are welcome. However, I’m afraid one person’s “well-researched and documented truth” is often someone else’s well crafted propaganda.
        Still comes down to whether you are willing to allow someone else the freedom to express their opinion about someone else’s well researched and documented truth. A strong confident person is not insulted because someone has questions or sees disturbing anomalies. Children teach you that one of the best ways to learn is to ask questions and to examine different points of view. Name calling such as “old bitch” and “craps all over” are examples of emotional “thinking” and responding to something that an insecure person feels might just be true and they don’t want to look at that. Such weak people don’t use facts or reason to answer something false or mistaken, they simply insult and demean the person whose opinion they don’t like. This is called an “ad hominem” attack and is a sign of someone who is insecure in their truth and has an emotional attachment to something they want to believe. An attack on what they have invested their belief in is seen as an attack upon them personally, so they feel justified in making a personal attack in return. Even if someone is dead wrong a strong and loving person allows them to express their belief. Forcing them to be quiet or pretend to agree does not change their mind or have any effect on what is actually true, any more than forcing someone to act like they love you increases their actual love for you. Indeed the opposite is more likely. You don’t have to like another’s opinion that disagrees with yours, but to paraphrase Voltaire, “I may disagree and dislike what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it, because I would like others to defend my right to speak my truth.”

      • 7 tape
        December 30, 2015 at 8:27 pm

        I don’t see how it is an “opinion” at all. If we discussed gay marriage or abortion, we would discuss ethical issues without scientific reasoning being possible. When it is about the murder of 6 million people, which happened on an industrial scale, which made it necessary to plan it precisely, and those people existed before, as documents and countless witnesses can prove, and we have certainty about the location of mass graves, actual film footage of bulldozers pushing the lifeless bodies of the victims into holes in the ground, and also enough survivors who could give exact report about what happened, it simply is not about an opinion any more. In fact just considering this a valid opinion already borders to antisemitism.

        Fortunatly over here free speech does not detach from the responsibility for what is said. In the case of lies, threats and insults, some “free speech” excuse won’t work as a get-out-of-jail card.

        Also discussing with that kind of intellectual nonentities is pointless. Someone who denies the holocaust in the light of the facts can not be convinced. It is nice that you fight for their right to mock the victims and rewrite history. But on long sight, not being nice might keep the morons from starting to kill again.

    • 8 Frank Manning
      December 31, 2015 at 12:30 am

      Only a dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semite, inveterate Jew-hater, or unrepentant Nazi-lover would deny the historical reality of the Holocaust. As tape, Ronnie, Sam, and myself have said in our comments, it happened, it is objective reality, there is no debate or discussion possible. This argument was settled by force of arms in WWII and in the Allied tribunals after the defeat of the Nazi regime. It is a grevious insult to all the Allied servicemembers who died in that greatest of all wars and to all the victims of the Nazi genocides to argue that it never happened. And it is not “ad hominem” to call a lowflife scumbag a lowlife scumbag!

      Once again though, I want to emphasize that as an American I don’t think anyone should be prosecuted or jailed for mere speech. Our political experience as a nation is grounded in our First Amendment, and that supreme law’s absolute guarantee that all speech of a political nature is protected by law. Our free speech protection is by no means absolute, but when it comes to expressions of political opinion it is. There have been challenges to this absolute protection over the centuries, starting with the Alien and Sedition laws and continuing through the anti-abolitionist gag rules, the post-WWI red scare, the cold war anti-communist hysteria. Now we see leftist-indoctrinated students wanting to suppress speech that is not politically correct or that somehow hurts their iddy-biddy feelings, poor babies! So our dedication to the absolute protection of political speech is just as important now as it has ever been in our history.

      It is sad to see how pathetically Europe and Canada have embraced what our Supreme Court has properly condemned and rejected as the heckler’s veto. That is, if I don’t like what you are saying I can call a cop and have him silence you through armed goonery. What the Germans did to that stupid old bitch is wrong and truly un-American. The remedy for odious speech is more speech, not goverment repression.

      • 9 Hat Bailey
        December 31, 2015 at 2:33 pm

        Thanks Frank. I believe you basically get the point I have been trying to make here. I don’t excuse atrocities, there are probably few who are more anti authoritarian than I am, or more pro individual rights and freedoms. I am basically a peaceful anarchist or voluntarist. Excess power or a monopoly of force as is exercised by so called “governments” with limited or no accountability leads to such tragedies as the holocaust. Not that the German people were monsters. There but for the grace of God go we. Those of Japanese descent who were sent to concentration camps in America could have also turned tragic is the war had come here and Americans were starving, I an imagine what the fate of those people might have been. I have at no point argued that terrible crimes were not committed, although I do think that some people who have questions about just how many died and how and where and why are quite sincere in their beliefs, and have a right to express them and seek for honest answers to their questions. I suppose if some want to descend to name calling and crude insults that could also be called an exercise of free speech. With you I agree that the remedy is not coercion but more communication. If it is done with brotherly love, long suffering and love unfeigned the cause of truth can be furthered. Simply forcing someone to stuff it because of fear of violence or harsh legal sanctions only builds bad feelings and resentment that will surface in some unpleasant fashion evenutally.

      • 10 tape
        January 2, 2016 at 6:11 am

        “I have at no point argued that terrible crimes were not committed, although I do think that some people who have questions about just how many died and how and where and why are quite sincere in their beliefs, and have a right to express them and seek for honest answers to their questions.”
        Which is allowed. There is an ongoing scientific discussion among historians about the exact number and the different interpretation of sources. Eyewitness reports are examined concerning their validity. This is all legal. However, there is the moment when discussion becomes pointless, and that is when facts are ignored. There is a limit at which communication fails to work. It is naive to think, that this old witch would have any interest in discussing what actually happened. She clearly wants to whitewash history in order to establish the same values once more. She has zero interest in honest answers, since she knows the answers very well. Her mission is to repeat the lies so often that they become the new truth. To point out that kind of disinformation is not silencing free speech. If this is free speech, speaking at all becomes pointless and people can stop communicating at all, as lies and insults have the same value as facts. So why should anyone care for the truth, if it is okay to tell some lie which is easier to tell? Everything would become a like big Republican Party presidential debate: people going on talking about comfortably easy too explain plans they just pulled out of their own arses.

        It is impossible to educate those people. One has to ask whether one should accept their rewriting of history and to accept the repetition of it and that way becoming responsible for whatever comes of it, or to fight that kind of cancer in a society.

  5. 11 Sam
    November 27, 2015 at 6:18 am

    If anyone can satisfactorily explain away to me the plethora of witness testimonies from both victims, liberators, bystanders and even perpetrators, documentary evidence of regular shipments of Jews and others to the camps and events at a high level of the Nazi government such as the Wannsee Conference where they planned out the final solution, the archaeological evidence such as Auschwitz and also satisfactorily explain away the existence of six million people including 90% of Poland’s Jews then I too may become a holocaust denier.

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