Accusation of hate speech: Horst Mahler is again before the court

Holocaust denier Horst Mahler has already served long prison sentences.

Accusation of hate speech: Horst Mahler is again before the court

Holocaust denier Horst Mahler has already served long prison sentences. The 86-year-old is on trial again for anti-Jewish writings. In it he conjures up an alleged struggle between the "German national spirit" and Judaism.

Horst Mahler is brought in a wheelchair by a paramedic to Room 5 of the Potsdam Regional Court, when brief applause erupts from the auditorium from his around a dozen supporters. The seriously ill 86-year-old visibly enjoys the appearance in court, greets his supporters and smiles relaxed at the journalists' cameras. "Nice to see you here - the purest camaraderie evening," whispers a viewer to his neighbor.

Mahler answered with a firm voice to the questions of the presiding judge Petra Müller, calling Silesia his homeland and answering the question about his citizenship "German Reich." After all, Germany is still under occupation law, says a spectator in a low voice - and forces Judge Müller to keep the room quiet again.

The public prosecutor then begins reading out the charges: the Cottbus public prosecutor's office, which is responsible for cybercrime, has compiled a total of six charges of incitement to hatred and denial of the Holocaust. Eleven writings are listed there that Mahler is said to have published between 2013 and 2017.

In 2014, for example, while he was in prison after convictions for incitement to hatred, he typed an anti-Jewish text on 200 typewritten pages, which was published on the Internet through an intermediary. In 2016, Mahler is said to have sent such hateful writings by email, including to Jewish communities, museums, the Central Council of Jews in Germany, but also to a public order office and the Brandenburg Ministry of Justice. In it, the 86-year-old conjures up an alleged struggle of the "German national spirit" against Judaism, which is geared towards world domination, as the public prosecutor quoted.

According to the public prosecutor, Mahler had incited "racial hatred" and committed the criminal offense of incitement to hatred. At the same time he praised Adolf Hitler as the "most German of all Germans" and "freedom fighter". Mahler listened very intently to the public prosecutor's speech, which lasted more than two hours and quoted the hate speech in detail.

At one point, the 86-year-old complained with a loud heckling that the prosecutor had not quoted the entire text. Since Mahler is only able to appear in court for three hours a day due to his serious illness, the public prosecutor had to interrupt the fourth charge. The indictment hearing is scheduled to continue on Thursday. A total of 14 days of negotiations are planned until January 20th.

The 86-year-old had already been convicted several times for Holocaust denial and had served his prison sentences from 2009 to October 2020 with an intermission in the Brandenburg/Havel prison. Mahler's imprisonment was interrupted in 2015 because of his serious illness. When he was due to start his sentence again in April 2017, the then 81-year-old fled to Hungary and unsuccessfully asked for political asylum there. After his extradition in the summer of 2017, Mahler had to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

Mahler was once a co-founder of the left-wing extremist Red Army Faction (RAF) and, after a long prison sentence, distanced himself from his terrorist past. In the 1990s he turned to right-wing extremism.