Americans think of Europeans as essentially like themselves. They believe European societies are like their own-rooted in the rule of law, freedom of religion, democratic government, market competition, and an unfettered press. In recent years, however, Europeans have given up an essential liberty: freedom of speech. It is true that in the United States prevailing orthodoxies on some questions are ruthlessly enforced but it is still legal to say just about anything. Not so in much of Europe.
In the last decade or so countries we think of as fellow democracies-France, Germany, Switzerland and others-have passed laws that limit free speech for the same crude ideological reasons that drove the brief, unsuccessful vogue of campus speech codes in the United States. Today in Europe there are laws as bad as anything George Orwell could have imagined. In some countries courts have ruled that the facts are irrelevant, and that certain things must not be said whether they are true or false.
In others, a defendant in court who tries to explain or defend a forbidden view will be charged on the spot with a fresh offense. Even his lawyer can be fined or go to jail for trying to mount a defense. In one case a judge ordered that a bookseller’s entire stock-innocent as well as offending titles-be burned! Just as Eastern Europe is emerging from it, Western Europe has entered the thought-crime era, in a return to the mentality that launched the Inquisition and the wars of religion.
It is a tyranny of the left practiced by the very people who profess shock at the tactics of Joseph McCarthy, an exercise of raw power in the service of pure ideology. The desire not merely to debate one’s opponents but to disgrace them, muzzle them, fine them, jail them is utterly contrary to the spirit of civilized discourse. It is profoundly disturbing to find this ugly sentiment codified into law in some of the countries we think of as pillars of Western Civilization. At the same time, these laws cannot help but draw attention to the very ideas they forbid.
Truth does not generally require the help of censors. There are two subjects about which Europeans can no longer speak freely. One is race and the other is Nazi Germany. “Anti-racism” laws generally take the form of forbidding the expression of opinions that might stir up “hatred” against any racial or ethnic group. In some countries, it is now risky to say that genetic differences explain why blacks have, on average, lower IQs than whites or to say that non-white immigration should be prevented so as to preserve a white majority.
There are probably parts of every issue of American Renaissance that could be banned in some European country, and we have an obvious interest in opposing censorship of this kind. Far more prosecutions have taken place, however, in connection with what is called “Holocaust revisionism” or “Holocaust denial. ” This appears to cover any skepticism about the generally-accepted view that the Nazis had a plan to exterminate Jews and managed to kill some six million, mostly by gassing.
There is considerable variety in the laws that forbid disagreement on this matter (see sidebar, page 6), but the Jewish Holocaust has become the one historical event on which people in France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Holland, Poland, Austria, Lithuania (and Israel) can be legally compelled to agree. It is still legal to dissent from Holocaust orthodoxy in Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Britain, Ireland, and Croatia, but there is powerful pressure in some of these countries to join the censors. Third Reich Jewish polices are of no special interest to AR, but it is outrageous that any point of view on any question be forbidden.
In the United States there is widespread complacency over this blatant thought control practiced by our closest allies. This complacency proves the utter lack of integrity of those who make principled free-speech claims for Communists, pornographers, rap “artists,” and flag-burners, but who will not lift a finger to stop the persecution of “racists” and “Nazis. ” Liberals get dewy-eyed over the First Amendment only when it suits them, and are quietly delighted to see their opponents dragged off to jail because of their opinions.
Indeed, several thousand Europeans are arrested every year who, if they were leftists, would be lionized as “prisoners of conscience. ” Indifference, even joy, over their fate is the contemptible sentiment that prevails across the political spectrum even in America. France has had perhaps the most colorful history of modern European censorship, perhaps because it has the longest history of Holocaust revisionism. The leftist Paul Rassinier cast doubt on accepted views as early as the 1950s, but it was in 1978 that revisionism came to the attention of a larger European public.
In that and the following year Prof. Robert Faurisson of the University of Lyon published two articles in the newspaper Le Monde asserting that there were no execution gas chambers in the Nazi concentration camps. Mr. Faurisson, an expert at textual analysis who made his case from original documents, provoked a storm of opposition. Nine anti-racist and concentration-camp survivor organizations brought civil and criminal suits against Prof. Faurisson for “falsification of history in the matter of the gas chambers,” a curious charge brought under the French anti-racial-discrimination law of 1972.
In April 1983, the Paris Court of Appeals found Prof. Faurisson innocent of “falsification of history” but found him guilty of the equally curious crime of “reducing his research to malevolent slogans,” and made him pay a small fine. At the same time, the court upheld the right to express any opinion on the existence of Nazi gas chambers (presumably so long as it was not expressed “malevolently”), concluding that “the value of the conclusions defended by Faurisson rests therefore solely with the appraisal of experts, historians, and the public.
This was a setback to the suppressers of free speech, who responded with what is known as the Gayssot law-named for the Communist deputy who promoted it-signed into law in 1990 by President Franois Mitterand. This law made it a crime punishable by up to 250,000 French francs (at that time approximately $50,000) or one year in prison or both to dispute the truth of any of the “crimes against humanity” for which Nazi leaders were charged at the Nuremberg trials. Prof.
Faurisson, who had continued to publish views on the Holocaust, was the first to be convicted under this law, and was fined 100,000 francs in April, 1991, a penalty reduced on appeal to 30,000 francs. He has not given up his work and has been repeatedly found guilty of the same crime. At last count, he has also been physically assaulted ten times and on at least one occasion was nearly killed. Although the Gayssot law was controversial when it was passed, the French are now happy with it.
According to a 1998 Sofres poll, 79 percent think it necessary “because one does not have the right to say anything one likes about the extermination of the Jews. ” The extent of this sentiment explains why there were other convictions for Holocaust-related comments before passage of the 1990 Gayssot law. In 1987 the leader of the French National Front Jean-Marie Le Pen was fined under anti-racism laws, not for denying the existence of Nazi gas chambers but merely for describing them as a “detail” or “minor point” in the history of the Second World War.
Astonishingly enough, not only must a Frenchman affirm a certain historical fact, he must attribute to it a certain prescribed importance. Another French celebrity-turned-thought criminal is Brigitte Bardot, the former actress. In retirement she has become an ardent animal-rights activist and has often denounced the ritual slaughter of sheep by French Muslims during the festival that marks the end of the Ramadan fast. She has also spoken in more general terms, lamenting that “my country, France, my homeland, my land is again invaded by an overpopulation of foreigners, especially Muslims. ” Like Prof.
Faurisson, she is impenitent and has been fined at least three times-in 1997, 1998 and 2000-under the 1972 anti-racism law. A judge concluded that Miss Bardot was guilty of inciting “discrimination, hatred or racial violence,” and that her condemnation of Muslim practices went beyond any possible concern for animal rights. There has been a host of other less-well-known Frenchmen convicted under the censorship laws. In May, 1999, the editor of a small-circulation magazine Akribeia was fined 10,000 francs ($2,000) and given a suspended six-month sentence for writing favorably about Paul Rassinier, the founder of French revisionism.
At his arrest, police strip-searched Jean Plantin and confiscated his two computers and a dozen computer disks, destroying the results of several years’ research. In September 2000, a 53-year-old French high school teacher in Lemberg in the Moselle region was fined 40,000 Francs ($8,000) and given a one-year suspended sentence for telling his students that the Third Reich gas chambers were used for delousing clothes and that the concentration camps were not extermination centers. Censorship cases now get little attention in France unless there are unusual circumstances or the defendant is a celebrity.
In July 2000, a local National Front politician in the Rhne-Alpes region, Georges Theil, was charged with “disputing the existence of crimes against humanity. ” In what he thought was a private e-mail exchange and using a screen name, he had written, “Homicidal gas chambers never existed for the simple reason that they were simply and profoundly impossible. ” Mr. Theil had not counted on the diligence of the French police, who tracked him down through his Internet service provider, Wanadoo, and hauled him into court where prosecutors asked for a six-month suspended sentence.
Cases of this kind, which show how deeply the French police are willing to burrow into what people think are their private lives, have been completely ignored in the United States. Two recent censorship trials that did receive international attention were “the Garaudy affair” and the successful attempt to shut down certain activities by the American Internet portal Yahoo. The Garaudy scandal is particularly instructive because it shows how willingly the left will sacrifice its own to the gods of Third Reich orthodoxy.
Roger Garaudy was born in 1913, served in the French army, joined the war-time Resistance, and sat in the French National Assembly as a Communist, first as a deputy and later as a senator. For 25 years he was a major theoretician for the Communist Party, but broke with the comrades over the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. He continued to teach philosophy and promote anti-racism and socialism. He converted to Islam, and enjoyed great prestige as one of France’s most influential public intellectuals.
Over the years he took an increasing interest in the Palestinian cause, and came to believe Jews were exaggerating the horrors of the Holocaust in order to squelch criticism of Israel. This and other views expressed in his 1995 book The Founding Myths of Modern Israel (published in English in 2000 by the California-based Institute for Historical Review) unleashed not only a flood of criticism but likewise brought the octogenarian into court for violation of the Gayssot law. Prof.
Garaudy’s impeccable credentials as a leftist and anti-racist were no defense. In February, 1998, he was duly fined the equivalent of $40,000 after a trial that caused a sensation in France and throughout the Islamic world. Probably no event has prompted more interest in Holocaust revisionism among Arabs than the trial of this French Muslim who defended Palestinians. Religious and political leaders from Egypt to Iran denounced France for putting him on trial, and the wife of the president of the United Arab Emirates contributed $50,000 to his defense.
Egyptian Nobel laureate in literature Naguib Mahfouz wondered about the health of Western societies in which it is commonplace to deny God but a crime to doubt the Holocaust. The affair took on yet another tragi-comic dimension when Abb Pierre, one of the most popular and admired men in France, made a few offhand remarks in support of Prof. Garaudy. Abb Pierre is a Capuchin friar whose real name is Henri Grouls. He came to be known as “the abb” during his work with the French Resistance smuggling Jews out of occupied France.
He has devoted his life to good works for the poor and for immigrants, and has a reputation something like that of Mother Theresa. He had become acquainted with Prof. Garaudy and shared his concern about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. After a few comments in favor of his old friend, he was horrified to discover that despite much backtracking and many apologies his reputation had vanished. He acknowledged he had not read the book, called on Prof. Garaudy to correct any errors, and disavowed any association with Holocaust denial.
Even so, leftists whom he thought were life-long friends turned on him, kicking him out of the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, a French anti-racist organization of which he had long been a member. Perhaps the cruelest blow was his expulsion from Emma-us, the charitable organization he himself had founded. Although not charged with violation of the Gayssot law, Abb Pierre fled to Italy and hid in a monastery until the controversy blew over.
The French case against the American Internet giant Yahoo, which is a gateway to search engines, auctions, shopping and much else caused only a brief murmur of disapproval in the United States, but is an ominous first step in bringing the Internet under the control of European censorship laws. The same International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism of which the abb used to be member-known by its French acronym LICRA-joined the French Union of Jewish Students in suing Yahoo to stop Internet auctions of Nazi medals, arm bands, photos, autographs and the like.
France’s anti-racism laws forbid commerce in anything “racially tinged,” and the California-based Yahoo promptly removed these auctions from its French web site. This was not enough for LICRA and the Jewish students, who insisted that Yahoo find a way to block French Internet users from reaching Yahoo sites in the U. S. , where auctions continued. Yahoo said it was technologically impossible, and the court appointed a panel of three computer experts-American, British, and French-to render a ruling. Two of the experts said it could not be done, but Judge Jean-Jacques Gomez chose to believe the Frenchman, who said it could.
In May 2000, he gave Yahoo two months to make it impossible for French Internet users to reach the Nazi auctions. He said he would fine the American company —-100,000 Francs (now $13,000) a day if it did not, since the sale of Nazi souvenirs offended “the collective memory of the nation. ” Judge Gomez also ordered Yahoo to pay 10,000 Francs to the plaintiffs LICRA and the Union of Jewish Students. A LICRA spokesman hailed the ruling as a great victory for democracy, of all things. The next month Jerry Yang, a co-founder of Yahoo, said his company would ignore Judge Gomez’ order.
Asking us to filter access to our sites according to the nationality of web surfers is very nave,” he said, adding, “we are not going to change the content of our sites in the United States because someone in France is asking us to do so. ” Six months later, in January 2001, Mr. Yang ate crow when Yahoo decided “voluntarily” to stop auctioning anything that bears a swastika or any other “hate” symbol such as a KKK insignia. “Yahoo recognizes that we were right,” exulted LICRA, and Ygal El Harrar, chairman of the Jewish students, welcomed “the return to its senses by the American company.
Incredibly, Yahoo claims daily fines had nothing to do with its decision. Noting that it already bans auctions of live animals, used underwear, and tobacco, it is pretending it is was only adjusting its list of forbidden products. No one is fooled. Lee Dembart wrote in the International Herald Tribune on Jan. 15, 2001, that the precedent has now been set for any country to try to control the Internet all over the world. China could threaten to fine sites that promote the Falun Gong Buddhist cult, which is illegal in China.
Arab countries could fine Internet sites that sell Jewish memorabilia, since such things no doubt offend their “collective memory. ” But by and large the American media have had nothing to say about what amounts to the imposition of French law on Americans. Needless to say, there would be a frenzy of denunciation if it were not “Nazis” who were being shoved off the net but, say, abortion-rights activists. Switzerland In the minds of Americans Switzerland is an orderly, sensible country of decent, independent-minded people.
It is also perhaps the only country that has ever brought censorship upon itself through referendum. Over the weekend of Sept. 24 and 25, 1994, the Swiss voted by a majority of 54. 7 to 45. 3 percent to make it a crime, punishable by fine and/or up to three years imprisonment, to “publicly incite hatred or discrimination” or “deny, grossly minimize, or seek to justify genocide or other crimes against humanity. ” Half of all Swiss cantons voted against the new law but thanks to the overall majority, it went into effect Jan. 1, 1995. Swiss authorities had not actually needed this law to censor foreigners.
In November 1986, the Geneva police stopped two French Holocaust revisionists-Pierre Guillaume and Henri Roques-from giving a press conference and banned them from speaking publicly in Switzerland for three years. The first Swiss citizen to fall afoul of the new law was Arthur Vogt, an 80-year-old retired school teacher. On June 3, 1997, a court in Meilen fined him 20,000 Swiss Francs ($15,000) for mailing copies of a revisionist book to seven acquaintances and for publishing a private newsletter in which he had written revisionist essays.
In December 1997, a court in Vevey sentenced Aldo Ferraglia, an Italian citizen, to four months in jail and court costs of 15,075 francs. He was also made to pay 28,000 francs in “atonement” to three Jewish organizations for having distributed a number of Holocaust revisionist books, including Roger Garaudy’s The Founding Myths of Modern Israel. At the Ferraglia trial the judge defended the new law by explaining it did not forbid opinion, only the public expression of certain opinions-a distinction that may be a little too fine for Americans.
By June of last year, there had been no fewer than 200 trials and 100 sentences based on the 1995 law. As in France, such trials no longer attract much attention. Probably few Swiss heard about it when animal rights activist Erwin Kessler went to jail for two months for writing that Jews who practice ritual slaughter of cattle are no better than concentration-camp guards. The press took only slightly more notice of Gaston-Armand Amaudruz whom a Lausanne court sentenced to a year in prison for articles he wrote in his monthly newsletter Courrier du Continent, which he started in 1946 and had only about 500 subscribers, mostly in France.
Mr. Amaudruz holds a doctorate in social and political sciences and has been a teacher of French and German. These are the words for which the 79-year-old paid with a year in prison: “For my part, I maintain my position: I don’t believe in the gas chambers. Let the exterminationists provide the proof and I will believe it. But as I’ve been waiting for this proof for decades, I don’t believe I will see it soon. ” At sentencing, the judge criticized Mr. Amaudruz’ lack of remorse and noted that he had continued to violate the law, writing “Long live revisionism” in the issue of the newsletter that appeared just before the trial.
Perhaps the most prominent Swiss to be found guilty under the censorship law is 49-year-old school teacher Jrgen Graf. In March, 1993, after the publication of his 112-page book, The Holocaust on the Test Stand, in which he cited reasons to doubt the accounts of extermination, he was fired from his job as a teacher of Latin and French at a private secondary school. The French banned the book in 1994. Before long Mr. Graf found himself in court, and in July, 1998, he was sentenced to 15 months in jail for various revisionist writings. Sentenced along with Mr. Graf was his 70-year-old publisher, Gerhard Frster, who got 12 months.
The court fined both men 8,000 Swiss francs ($5,500) and ordered them to turn over 55,000 francs ($38,000) in proceeds from book sales. Presiding Judge Andrea Staubli said the defendants’ “remarkable criminal energy” and lack of remorse justified harsh punishment. Their defense counsel protested that he could not even try to explain the reasons for Mr. Graf’s statements without, himself, being prosecuted under the same law. He also argued in vain that censorship law violated the free-speech provisions of the European Human Rights Convention which Switzerland has signed.
Wolfgang Frlich, an engineer called to vouch for the authenticity of Mr. Graf’s findings, found himself threatened with prosecution if he testified. Just as absurdly, the court included The Holocaust on the Test Stand in its reasons for finding Mr. Graf guilty even though he wrote it before the 1995 censorship law. Mr. Graf decided to flee the country rather than spend 15 months in prison. In November 2000, he ended up in Iran, where he planned to stay for some time. He has been welcomed by scholars in Tehran, and was invited to give lectures at Iranian universities.
Mr. Graf does not intend to return to Switzerland until the country restores the right of free speech. As we will see, he is not the only European to go into exile rather than face jail as a prisoner of conscience. Germany Since the end of the Second World War, beginning with de-Nazification, Germany has had censorship laws unthinkable in the United States. Nazi songs, salutes, and symbols are illegal even in private, and the country has been as aggressive as any in trying to expand the effects of its own repressive laws beyond its own borders.
By now, thousands of people have fallen afoul of anti-Nazi, and “incitement to racial hatred” laws, which violate the German constitution’s own guarantees of freedom of expression. Any number of quite remarkable cases of state-sponsored thought control have gone almost completely unreported in the United States. Fredrick Toben was born in Germany in 1944 but emigrated with his parents to Australia when he was ten, and is an Australian citizen. He studied at Melbourne University and at universities in Heidelberg, Tbingen, and Stuttgart, and has a doctorate in philosophy.
In 1994 he established the Adelaide Institute, in the Australian town of that name, to promote Holocaust revisionism. He sent some material to Germany, and was arrested in Mannheim in April 1999 during a visit. He was held without bail until his trial seven months later and was charged with “incitement to racial hatred,” “insulting the memory of the dead,” and “public denial of genocide. ” The court sentenced Dr. Toben to ten months in prison but let him off with a fine of 6,000 marks ($3,500) on the strength of time already spent in prison.
As in Switzerland, it is impossible to mount a defense against these charges. Defendants and even lawyers who try to explain or justify their statements have been immediately charged with additional offenses right in the courtroom. The prosecution tried to charge Mr. Toben on additional counts because of articles on his Australia-based Adelaide Institute web page (www. adelaide institute. org), but the court ruled that his only violation of German law was to have sent printed matter directly into Germany. Foreign Internet sites were not covered by the law even if Germans could read them.
As Deputy Interior Minister Brigitte Zypries explained in July 2000, “That’s life and that’s the Internet . . . . You can’t build a wall around Germany. ” Since the government could not use the most serious evidence against him, Dr. Toben got off lightly; the shortest previous sentence for his crimes had been two years, and the prosecution was asking for two years and four months. However, in December 2000, in a very significant ruling that went virtually unnoticed in the United States, Germany’s highest court, the Bundesgerichtshof, reversed the lower court.
It said German law applies to any ideas or images Germans can reach from within Germany, so someone who posts a swastika on a web page anywhere in the world is a criminal under German law. Dr. Toben, whose case provided the high court with the basis of this ruling, could presumably be the subject of an extradition request. As we will see below, Dr. Toben faces problems enough back home in Australia. One of the few Americans to notice and comment on this extension of German (and French) law to the Internet was Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.
We commend the German authorities for sticking to their commitment,” he said; “it’s their democracy, these are their laws. ” He went on to praise the French, too: “We have to commend the Germans and the French for basically saying ‘In our societies, this is how we deal with the problems of hate, racism and Holocaust denial. You in America have your own laws, but at least respect our values. ‘ ” Perhaps Rabbi Cooper would be pleased to see European-style censorship in the United States. The case of Germar Rudolf is likewise remarkable.
Born in 1964, Mr. Rudolf graduated summa cum laude in chemistry from the University of Bonn and is a certified chemist. After serving in the German air force, he entered a Ph. D. program at the prestigious Max Planck Institute for Solid State Physics. While still at the institute he carried out a forensic physical examination of the gas chambers of Birkenau and concluded that for a variety of technical reasons they could not have been used for executions. In 1993 he published his findings in what is called The Rudolf Report, and was promptly dismissed from the Max Planck Institute.
A court in Stuttgart ruled that the report “denies the systematic mass murder of the Jewish population in gas chambers” and was therefore “popular incitement,” “incitement to racial hatred,” and “defamation. ” The court rejected Mr. Rudolf’s request for technical evidence about the truth or falsehood of his report, ruling that the “mass murder of the Jews” is “obvious. ” Mr. Rudolf has continued to commit thought crimes, editing a compendium of revisionist articles called Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte [Foundations of Contemporary History].
In 1996 a court fined his publisher 30,000 marks ($18,000) and ordered all copies seized and burned. Police raided Mr. Rudolf’s apartment three times, and in 1996 he was finally sentenced to 14 months in prison. Rather than serve time he fled to England, which has anti-racist laws but where Holocaust denial is not (yet) a crime. He is now director of Castle Hill Publishers, which issues revisionist works, and publishes a German-language revisionist quarterly. Jewish groups have brought pressure on the British government to enact laws to outlaw Holocaust denial so that Mr. Rudolf can either be prosecuted in England or extradited to Germany.
Like Jrgen Graf of Switzerland, unless free speech is restored in his homeland, he will go to jail if he ever returns. Recently he moved to the United States and has applied for amnesty as a political refugee. It will be interesting to see how the INS, which has stretched “political persecution” to include wife-beating and making fun of homosexuals, will avoid granting him asylum. One German defendant who did not flee the country was the elderly historian Udo Walendy, publisher of the “Historical Facts” series of booklets.
In May, 1996, the district court of Bielefeld sent him to prison for 15 months, and a year later a court in Herford added 14 more months to his sentence. He was also fined 20,000 marks ($12,000) when 12 copies of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf were found in his possession. Judge Helmut Knner of the Herford court took the curious position that Mr. Walendy was guilty not of a sin of commission but of omission: “This [case] is not about what was written-that is not for this court to determine-but rather about what was not written.
If you had devoted just a fraction of the same exactitude to highlighting the other side [of the Holocaust question], you would not have been sentenced. ” Here we find the tortured reasoning to which censorship laws invariably give rise. To have failed to write about a particular historical event in a balanced manner is a crime that can send a historian to jail. In the court’s view, this one-sided writing was “meant to disturb the public peace,” not withstanding the “exactitude” of Mr. Walendy’s work.
Moreover, although Mr. Walendy has been a model prisoner he was denied the usual grant of release after serving two-thirds of his sentence. Authorities explained that this was because he was unlikely to change his views. It is possible to argue that Austrian censorship laws have already claimed a life. In 1995, Werner Pfeifenberger, a German professor of political science published an essay called “Internationalism and Nationalism: a Never-Ending Mortal Enmity? ” in a collection issued by Austria’s Freedom Party (see AR, Dec. 1999, and March 2000). A prominent Jewish journalist attacked the essay, accusing Prof.
Pfeifenberger of writing in a “neo-Nazi tone,” and “extolling the national community. ” Because the professor had criticized the 1933 Jewish declaration of an international boycott of Germany, the journalist also accused him of reviving “the old Nazi legend of a Jewish world conspiracy. ” The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia dismissed Prof. Pfeifenberger from his teaching position, and a court in Vienna prepared a case against him under Austrian anti-Nazi laws. On May 13, 2000, just a few weeks before the trail, Prof. Pfeifenberger took his own life. His lawyer explained that Prof.
Pfeifenberger faced ten years in jail under the charges, did not expect a fair trial, and had already spoken of committing suicide. As in Germany and Switzerland, Austrian law does not permit a defendant to argue the veracity of his statements; offensive “tone” or “diction” is sufficient to secure conviction. United States citizens have fallen afoul of German censorship laws-without the slightest gesture of support from their own government. Hans Schmidt of Pensacola, Florida, runs the German-American National Public Affairs Committee, which publishes a newsletter.
Mr. Schmidt, who fought in the German army, moved to the United States after the war and became a U. S. citizen. In 1995, on a trip to Germany to visit family members, German authorities arrested him for having sent some of his newsletters to Germany. They held him in jail for five months but released him in conjunction with the first part of his trial. Mr. Schmidt, who could have been sentenced to five years in prison, slipped out of the country rather than stay for the rest of his trial. Another American, Gary Lauck of Lincoln, Nebraska, was not so lucky.
Known as “the farm-belt Fhrer,” Mr. Lauck is an unapologetic supporter of Nazism, and has shipped a considerable quantity of Nazi material to Germany. In March, 1995, he was visiting Denmark, a country that does not have anti-Nazi laws, but in an operation of questionable legality, the Danes extradited him to Germany. In August, 1996, a Hamburg court convicted him of inciting racial hatred and distributing illegal materials-which he did legally in the United States and not in Germany-and sentenced him to four years in jail. He served his sentence and returned to the United States, where he continues to promote Nazism.
At almost the same time Mr. Lauck was on trial in Germany, the American citizen Harry Wu-a fervent critic of China-slipped into China illegally on a mission of support for dissidents and was arrested. The U. S. State Department mounted an extraordinary effort to secure his release, but completely ignored Germany’s prosecution of Mr. Lauck. Another curious case involving the United States is that of a young German musician Hendrik Mbus. Mr. Mbus said provocative things about Jews, gave the Nazi salute during a concert, and later turned up in the United States.