Complaint Filed Against Belgian Daily That Published Holocaust Denier's Claims

Siegfried Verbeke admits to existence of gas chambers, but says they were to 'disinfect clothes' and may face legal repercussions.

JTA
JTA
The entrance to the core display of the museum of the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama, with its replica of the infamous Auschwitz gate, Dec. 27, 2014.
The entrance to the core display of the museum of the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama, with its replica of the infamous Auschwitz gate, Dec. 27, 2014.Credit: Cnaan Liphshiz/JTA Photo Archives
JTA
JTA

A Belgian Jewish newspaper filed an official complaint last week with the country’s watchdog on journalism about a daily that published a Holocaust denier’s claim that no one died in Nazi gas chambers.

The Antwerp-based Joods Actueel monthly filed the complaint against the De Morgen daily, the monthly’s editor-in-chief, Michael Freilich, told JTA Monday.

In its complaint against De Morgen, Joods Actueel cited legislation from 1995 that forbids claiming the Holocaust did not happen – a law which Freilich claims was broken both by De Morgen and by the newpaper’s interviewee, Siegfried Verbeke.

In an interview published earlier this month, Verbeke, a far-right symathizer with multiple convictions for inciting racial hate against Jews and denying the genocide, said: “Of course gas chambers existed, hundreds of them. To disinfect the clothes of people who went through them. But gas chambers designed to kill people never existed, no.”

The Belgian state’s authority for combatting discrimination, ICGK, said it was looking into legal action against Verbeke over this statement and Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever expressed support for his prosecution. But “De Morgen is for all intents and purposes an accomplice in this offense, and should answer for its actions,” Freilich said.

He and the management at Joods Actueel complained to the Belgian Council for Journalism over what they described as a “violation of ethics” regardless of whether De Morgen is charged with breaking the law.

“Even in the United States, where freedom of expression is greater than in Europe, a major paper, like, say, The Washington Post, would not consider interviewing David Duke,” Freilich said of that American Holocaust denier.

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

$1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

Touro Synagogue, Newport, Rhode Island

Inside the Fierce Battle Over America's Oldest Synagogue

Protesters demonstrating in front of the consulate general of Israel in New York last year.

Huge Gap Between Young, Old Americans' View on Israel-Palestine

Rep. Henry Cuellar attends a campaign event on Wednesday, in San Antonio, Texas.

AIPAC-backed Dem Declares Victory Against Progressive Challenger in Texas Runoff

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Mohammad Eslami at an event for Nuclear Technology Day in Tehran, last month.

Prospects for Reviving Iran Nuclear Deal 'Tenuous' at Best, U.S. Envoy Says

A family grieves outside the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Wednesday.

Israeli PM Offers Condolences After Texas Gunman Kills 21 at Elementary School

U.S. President Joe Biden, this week.

Biden Decides to Keep Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Terror List, Says Report