The text in italics at the end of this article is a petition to the legislator of the German Federal Republic, urging that legislator to revoke all provisions of German criminal law whereby the praising, playing down or denying of violent crimes committed by the National Socialist regime between 1933 and 1945 is a criminal offense.
It is placed here for the purpose of collecting as many signatures as possible, in order to then submit it to competent bodies in the German Federal Republic.
This article has been dated so as to stay at the top of the HC blog for a period of one month starting today, 13.01.2008.
If you wish to sign the petition, please do so by posting a message after this article containing only your name and the place and country where you live (e.g.: «Roberto Muehlenkamp, Lisbon, Portugal»). If you don’t wish to reveal the city or town where you live, just write your name and country (e.g. «Roberto Muehlenkamp, Portugal»). If you don't want to reveal in what country you live, your message may contain your name alone. Signatures made under obvious pseudonyms are meaningless and will therefore be deleted.
Please do not post any comments or questions about the petition text after this article, because this article is meant to contain an uninterrupted list of signatures following the petition text. Comments or questions posted after this article will therefore be deleted. Any comments or questions you may have can be posted on a thread that has been opened for this purpose on the RODOH discussion forum.
This is the petition:
Dear Legislator of the German Federal Republic,
We hereby request you to revoke the provisions of the German criminal law whereby the praising, playing down or denying of violent crimes committed by the National Socialist regime constitutes a punishable criminal offense, as well as any other provisions whereby the dissemination of untruths in support of an extremist political line may be subject to criminal punishment.
We are of the opinion that such utterances should not be subject to criminal prosecution, for reasons expressed as follows in an article written in a German legal journal in 1994:
"Allgemein bekannte geschichtliche Tatsachen zu leugnen kann keine Strafe verdienen. Wer etwa behauptet, Deutschland habe am 1. Weltkrieg nicht teilgenommen, oder Adenauer habe 333 bei Issus mitgewirkt, ist durch seine Dummheit genug bestraft. Gleiches muβ für die Leugnung der Scheuβlichkeiten und Verbrechen der jüngsten deutschen Vergangenheit gelten."
Source of quote:
Brigitte Bailer-Galanda/Wolfgang Benz/Wolfgang Neugebauer (Hrg.), Die Auschwitzleugner, 1996 Elefanten Press, Berlin, page 261. Work cited: NStZ 1994, S. 392 (Baumann).
"Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past."
We are also of the opinion that, however disgusting and offensive to certain people the utterance of such propagandistic untruths may be, the democratic constitutional state should rely on prevailing over them on the free marketplace of ideas. The means to keep the discontented in our society from being taken in by extremist hate speech should be education and information, not criminal prosecution.