YouTube in Germany Axes Songs That Praise the Holocaust

The material came down after the World Jewish Congress protested and accused Google of failing to prevent a proliferation of anti-Semitic material on its platforms.

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Visitors shown at Berlin's Holocaust Memorial in January 2016.
Visitors shown at Berlin's Holocaust Memorial in January 2016.Credit: Markus Schreiber/AP

The German unit of YouTube has removed material praising the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler after receiving a scathing protest letter from the World Jewish Congress against the continued posting of songs with virulent anti-Semitic lyrics.

In a letter on Monday to Philipp Justus, managing director of the German unit of YouTube's parent company Google, the WJC wrote, according to a report by Agence France Presse: "Why is it that Google steadfastly refuses to take action against the proliferation of racist and anti-Semitic material on its platforms?"

"Do you really believe that songs glorifying, or inciting to, the mass murder of Jews fall under freedom of speech?" WJC's Executive Vice President Robert Singer wrote.

Singer protested that the song "In Belsen" by far-right group Kommando Freisler, was "widely available" on YouTube despite the fact that it had been banned in Germany and the band members behind it given suspended jail terms in 2009 for inciting racial hatred.

A spokesman for YouTube's German unit said that the objectionable material had been removed and that the company had "clear guidelines to ban hate speech against certain groups or content that incites racial hatred."

"We remove all videos that violate these guidelines as soon as they are reported. That also applies to banned right-wing extremist music," he said.

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