There are limits to Free Speech. In Germany.
In America people can voice any opinion they want. No matter how racist, anti-Semitic or misogynist.
Words can hurt. Words have consequences.
A Judge in Germany used such quaint language in handing down a sentence. The Judge called the defendant’s extremist blogs “revisionist history.”
Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 8.26.2022
The Berlin-Tiergarten district court on Friday sentenced far-right video blogger Nikolai Nerling to a nine-month probation sentence.
Judge Stephan Markmiller said that Nerling had used provocative, far-right content in order to gain attention and influence in the far-right scene, and said that some of his content amounted to “revisionist history.”
The 42-year-old, who calls himself “The People’s Teacher,” was convicted, among other things, of insult and incitement in two cases and the use of signs of either organizations either deemed terrorist or otherwise outlawed in Germany.
What did Nerling actually do?
In one example from March 2018, Nerling was accused of uploading an interview he conducted with notorious Holcaust denier Ursula Haverbeck to YouTube.
In the video, the 93-year-old denied the Holocaust, as she had done many times before. For that and other acts, the Berlin regional court sentenced her to a one-year prison term back in January. The prosecution accused Nerling of having known that Haverbeck’s statements were contrary to established historical facts.
He was also charged with publishing another video in which he “deliberately wanted to attack and ridicule a man in his Jewish identity.”
According to the indictment, in 2019 he also published images on his channel showing someone giving the Hitler salute.
The Hitler salute, and various other Nazi symbols or gestures, remain outlawed to this day in Germany.
Another video shows Nerling visiting the city of Lüneburg. During this visit, he commented on and defaced an information board on the crimes of the 110th Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht.
In his comments, he questioned the proven fact that the infantry division had deported people to extermination camps, before covering the board in tape.
Nerling, a former elementary school teacher in Berlin, lost his job several years ago because of the extremist content on his YouTube channels.
What did the judge say?
He said Nerling had intentionally played with voicing nationalist or ethnic sentiments or other provocations that were “on the knife edge of what can be prosecuted,” looking to test the law to its limits. In the cases in question, the judge said, he had crossed a line.
In addition to the probation period — slightly less than the prosecution’s request of eleven months — the bench fined Nerling €3,000 (roughly $3,000) to be paid to the anti-racist anti-far-right Amadeu Antonio Foundation.
The judge also warned Nerling’s supporters, about a dozen of whom had shown up at the court, that he would not tolerate them shouting statements or clapping during the proceedings.