By Olle Wästberg
Index on Censorship has received about fifty letters and postcards about what is called ‘The Felderer Case’.
Swedish courts found Dietlieb Clüwer Felderer guilty of ‘Agitation against an ethnic group’, according to the Swedish Penal Code, Chapter 16, Paragraph 8, which reads as follows:
‘If a person publicly or otherwise in a statement or other communication which is spread among the public threatens or expresses contempt for a group of a certain race, skin colour, national or ethnic origin or religious creed, he shall be sentenced for agitation against an ethnic group to imprisonment for a maximum of two years or, if the offence is petty, to pay a fine.’
The law is very seldom used. Felderer is the first Swedish citizen to get a prison sentence of this length — 10 months.
The charge against Felderer was as follows: ‘Felderer has on each of several copies of written material, dealing with the subject of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, fastened a strand of hair and a piece of soap, and in some cases also a condom, and in one case a piece of a nail. He wrote on each copy that the piece of soap consisted of pure Jewish fat with the scent of Hungarian Jew. In several cases he stapled an apparently used condom and wrote that it had been used by a named representative of Jewish victims on a visit to a Nazi brothel. Felderer sent these communications to recipients in Sweden, Holland, Austria, Germany, Canada and the USA.’
A few examples from Felderer’s mailings: He published a caricature of a Jew, naked, with the following caption (his spelling is given): ‘The naked truth. Childrens’ contest. The name of this handsome-looking fellow is Zyklon B. Goldman. In 1944’s beauty contest at AUSWITCH he was unanimously selected as the prettiest chap of AUSWITCH. Mr Zyklon B. Goldman has just come out of the gas chamber, spick-and span, for his 16th time. Each time he is looking better and better. Each time he is getting healthier and healthier. Mr Zyklon B. Goldman really digs the AUSWITCH gas. How did he look before he entered the gas chamber? Dress Mr Zyklon B. Goldman up and send us your picture. FIRST PRIZE: Sweets for a total of 100 kronor or our book Auschwitz Exit, Vol 1.’
Pamphlets with soap and the text ‘Pure Jewish Fat — Scent: Hungarian Gas Chamber 3, Birkenau’ were posted to different organisations and museums for victims of the Nazi era.
Individual Jews who had been victims of Nazi persecution were sent offensive material. For example, Gideon Hausner, the prosecutor, was sent a used condom with the message that it had been used by Simon Wiesenthal on his 239th visit to a Nazi brothel during the Hitler era.
To see if Mr Felderer’s mental state was such that he should get exemption from punishment the court asked that he be given a psychiatric examination. However, Felderer was found sane. Felderer was not charged for his opinion that Jews were not killed during the Nazi era.
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He was not charged for thinking that ‘what was gassed was lice’. He was charged for the way he was expressing contempt for the Jews and spreading his material.
The letters received by Index support Felderer and characterise him as a victim of the establishment, a political prisoner. A group in Sweden called ‘European Human Rights’ disseminates material on his behalf and claims to be working for freedom of speech. It vilifies Amnesty, PEN and others for ‘working covertly to destroy freedom of speech’. Felderer is an adherent of the ‘Institute for Historical Review’, a US-based group which puts out pamphlets and books denying the existence of the Nazi holocaust and asserting that it is all a hoax by Zionists seeking support for Israel. Felderer is a friend of David McCalden who works from California where he runs ‘Truth Missions’ and promotes the letter campaign for Felderer. These anti-semitic groups use the terminology of liberal protest, human rights bulletins or academic life, as appropriate, to suggest respectability and innocence. The booklists of the Institute for Historical Review, for example, include reputable academic and journalistic books.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]The winter 2017 Index on Censorship magazine explores 1968 – the year the world took to the streets – to discover whether our rights to protest are endangered today.
With: Ariel Dorfman, Anuradha Roy, Micah White[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”96747″ img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]In print, online. In your mailbox, on your iPad.
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