Scrapbookpages Blog

May 10, 2010

Witch trials in Germany — yesterday and today

In the 17th century, the town of Geseke in northwest Germany was famous for conducting witch trials. The town is known, even today, as Hexen-Geseke.  Hexen is the plural of Hexe, which means witch in German.

I was reminded of this when “littlegreyrabbit” posted a comment on my blog, in which he mentioned a German guy named Kevin Käther, who was sentenced on December 10, 2009 to one year and 8 months in prison for repeated “Incitement of the Masses” (Volksverhetzung) which is the crime of “Holocaust denial” in Germany.  This was Käther’s second sentence; one year was added to the  8-month sentence from his first trial.

Käther had committed a second crime of “Holocaust denial” by reading and submitting an evidentiary motion in his first trial.  Yes, you read that right: introducing evidence to prove your innocence in a “Holocaust denial” trial is a crime.   In other words, truth is no defense.

According to a blog post which you can read here, the Berlin District Court dropped the case because Käther wanted to ask questions of witnesses who were True Believers.  The questions were too embarrassing for the witnesses who would not answer them in court.

The ruins of the witches tower in Geseke, Germany

The photo above shows what is left of the Hexenturm or Witches Tower, where women accused of witchcraft were imprisoned in the 17th century. The tower was part of the Geseke town wall on the east side, which was torn down in 1830.

The photo below shows the steep stairs down to the small room in the sub-basement of the West tower at Wewelsburg Castle where the witches were tortured to force them to confess. In the top right hand corner is the judge’s loge where the judges observed the trial by torture.

The place where witches were tortured until they confessed

In today’s witch trials in Germany, the accused are not physically tortured and forced to confess, but they have no chance of being acquitted.  If you are accused of  “Holocaust denial” in Germany, your conviction and prison sentence is automatic, and if you try to offer evidence that you have been wrongly accused, you will be accused of more “Holocaust denial” and your sentence will be longer.  If your attorney tries to defend you in an “Holocaust denial” trial, he or she will also be accused of “Holocaust denial” and will be sentenced to prison.  Sylvia Stoltz, the attorney for Holocaust denier Germar Rudolf, was convicted of  “Holocaust denial” herself because she had the audacity to defend her client.  Rudolf is out of prison, but Sylvia is still behind bars.

Thankfully, Kevin Käther was sentenced to 20 months probation, not prison time, so if he keeps his mouth shut from now on, he will be a free man.

Käther brought this on himself by deliberately committing an act of “Holocaust denial” to test the laws of Germany.  Here is a quote from another web site which tells about his case:

Kevin’s crime consisted of sending compact discs (CDs) of Germar Rudolf’s proscribed book Lectures On the Holocaust to three judges in Berlin and then filing an official complaint against himself for violating Germany’s notorious censorship laws.

His purpose in doing this was to judicially determine, in a court trial, whether Rudolf’s factual conclusions are scientifically valid.

In the cover letter that he sent with the CDs, he stated that if empirical evidence proved the contents of Rudolf’s book to be inaccurate, he would accept his punishment without objection or appeal.

He wrote:

“Under the censorship laws of the Federal Republic, distribution and dissemination of this book is proscribed as ‘Denial of Holocaust.’ Germar Rudolf, the author of this book, was sentenced to a prison term for the commendable but criminal act of writing it. As a self-respecting German I have a patriotic obligation to publicize these lectures in our country… I realize that I will probably be indicted and convicted in a court of law for my action, and I accept that probability.

In the ensuing criminal trial, you will be required to testify as witnesses.

For this reason, you should familiarize yourselves with the factual contents of Rudolf’s book, applying old-fashioned German thoroughness.”

The indictment came immediately. In order to either prove or disprove the veracity of Rudolf’s book in a judicial framework, Kevin submitted over four thousand pages of empirical evidence during his trial, along with Rudolf’s Expert Report on the Alleged Gas Chambers of Auschwitz.

The above quote is from a Holocaust denial/neo-Nazi web site.  Warning: do not click on this link unless you want to be exposed to Holocaust denial, for which there is no cure.  You might end up in a dungeon in Germany, like the one pictured below.

Dungeon where witches were imprisoned at Wewelsburg Castle

Just kidding, folks.  I love Germany and the German people, even when  they torture witches and increase a prison sentence for offering evidence in a trial.

Wewelsburg Castle where witches were put into a dungeon

Notice the church steeple on the extreme left in the photo above. Heinrich Himmler, the head of all the Nazi concentration camps, blamed the Catholic Church for the persecution of women as witches. He wanted Germany to go back to the old pagan religion.

On the night of November 9th and 10th in 1938, there were 30,000 Jewish men in Germany rounded up by the Nazis and sent to the concentration camps at Sachsenhausen, Dachau and Buchenwald. In the village of Salzkotten, a few miles from Wewelsburg, there were 17 Jewish men arrested and taken to the dungeon at Wewelsburg where they were kept for a few days before being transferred to Buchenwald.