South Africa’s Holocaust Denial hearings

Prof Milton Shain gives evidence

Eva Schloss is pretty much insulted by the contents of a Radio 786 broadcast made in 1998 in which all Jews,  every single last one, are targeted by racist Anti-Semitic invective which denies the injustice of the Holocaust at the same time that it appears to urge a similar solution to the “Jewish Problem”.

I attended three days of the hearings into the Radio 786 Holocaust Denial case in which experts, academics and witnesses to the tragedy presented evidence.

Eva Schloss is a beautiful woman, who was just nine when Austria was annexed, and her entire family were forced to clean pavements with tooth brushes, she still has a tattooed number on her arm from where the Nazi’s registered her when the war finally caught up after her family fled to Holland. Frau Schloss’s father, brother and step-sister Anne Frank were all murdered by the Nazis.

“I have seen the real and terrible harm caused by anti-Semitic media statements like those contained in the broadcast” she told the commission.

“After May 1940…the trouble started for the Jews. Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees: Jews were required to wear a yellow star; Jews were required to turn-in their bicycles; Jews were forbidden to ride trams or in cars, even their own…Jews were forbidden to go to theatres, cinemas or any other forms of entertainment; Jews were forbidden to use swimming pools, tennis courts, hockey fields or any other athletic fields…You couldn’t do this and you couldn’t do that, but life went on…”

Do we really have to examine such propositions as the advocacy of genocide — hate speech such as the denial of the Holocaust? Why should the burden of proof be placed on the victims and survivors of a crime against humanity? See: Holocaust denial is hateful, immoral and factually wrong

Think of people who were tortured and placed in solitary confinement, do we have to expose them to cross-examination on issues of credibility, every time some person claiming to be an academic, comes up with the preposterous notion that intellectually speaking, we cannot actually prove the existence of history?

Radio 786 argument seems to be along the lines of “we have the right to freedom of speech no matter what and we shouldn’t be bound by the Constitution which expressly outlaws hate speech.”

And hence the misleading media statements being issued, while the station’s own council accept the errant mischief intended by a broadcast with no attempt to solicit moderation from experts or the Jewish community itself, a spokesperson, supposedly reported in Friday’s Cape Times says in effect: We will never, ever, apologise for spreading malicious lies.

On Thursday, the leaders of South Africa’s mostly Orthodox Jewish community offered to accept an apology and walk away. Instead, South Africans were greeted with renewed claims and an attempt to defend the indefensible. Hate media was found to be a significant contributing factor in the Rwandan Genocide.

Time to revoke the license of Radio 786?

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