Germany bans holocaust-denying groups

News Digital Media, Australia/May 7, 2008

Germany has banned two regional far-right organisations suspected of denying the Nazis' slaughter of six million Jews and launched early morning raids against their members. Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the groups outlawed were the Collegium Humanum and the Association for the Rehabilitation of Those Persecuted for Questioning the Holocaust.

Based in Germany's most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the neo-Nazi groups are "collecting pools for organised Holocaust deniers'', the ministry said.

"The groups' activities consist of publishing anti-Semitic propaganda and glorifying the National Socialists' (Nazis') brutal dictatorship.

"This right-wing extremist ideology was disseminated on the internet, flyers and at sites run by the organisations in Vlotho, NRW where Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis from across the country met.''

Police searched 30 sites linked to the groups and confiscated suspicious material.

Mr Schaeuble said the organisations drew young skinheads as well as elderly Nazis who reject Germany's democratic system.

"This is the hotbed from which racist-motivated violence grows,'' he said.

Collegium Humanum was founded in 1963 and is one of the most high-profile groups to dispute the overwhelming historical evidence of Germany's systematic murder of Jews across Europe during World War II.

Authorities say Collegium Humanum and VRBHV jointly hold lectures and member events to spread their neo-Nazi ideology.

Denying the Holocaust is illegal in Germany. The bans mean the organisations must disband and that its members are barred from setting up successor groups with a similar bent.

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