Expatica news

German prosecutors move against Holocaust-denying bishop

Berlin — German prosecutors last week filed a complaint against a British bishop, Richard Williamson, for inciting racial hatred after he said that "not one Jew" was killed in Nazi gas chambers.

The competent court in Regensburg, southern Germany, must now decide whether to accept the charges, its president Johann Ploed said, adding that the decision would come in around one week.

Any punishment would likely be a fine, he said. If Williamson accepted the fine, there would be no need for a public trial.

Williamson sparked controversy in January when he gave a television interview in the vicinity of Regensburg in which he said: "There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies."

The bishop said he believed "200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but none of them by gas chambers."

The outburst prompted a very rare comment on religious matters by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called on Pope Benedict XVI to "clarify unambiguously that there can be no denial" the Nazis killed six million Jews.

The scandal carried particular resonance as it was Nazi Germany that masterminded and carried out the murders during World War II, and because the 82-year-old pope is German.

Denying that the Holocaust took place is illegal in Germany and Austria.