An Austrian court in the District of Feldkirch [official website] found a man guilty of violating the country’s anti-Nazi laws on Monday for his claims that the mass killing of Jews in gas chambers is a fictitious story. Austria’s Prohibition Act of 1947 [materials, in German] provided a legal framework for the denazification of Austria. In 1992 it was amended to prohibit Holocaust denial and the belittlement of the atrocities carried out by the Nazi party. The 34-year-old man [AP report], whose identity is kept private under Austrian law, made Facebook [official website] posts asserting that Jews made up stories about mass killings in gas chambers to taint Adolf Hitler’s image should he have won the war. Additionally, the man was convicted of incitement for a separate post he made calling Muslims “vermin”. The court ordered him to pay a fine of 1,440 euros ($1,690) and sentenced him to a suspended one-year prison term.
Efforts to seek justice and restitution for the victims of the Nazi Germany era are still underway, over 70 years after the close of World War II. Earlier this month Poland’s special prosecutors requested [JURIST report] the US extradite a Minnesota man accused of Nazi war crimes. Also in July the Austria Constitutional Court [official website, in German] ruled [JURIST report] that the government seizure of the apartment complex where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was born is constitutional. In May Romania enacted legislation [JURIST report] enabling restitution for Holocaust survivors. In November 2016 the Germany Federal Court of Justice upheld the conviction of former Nazi SS Officer Oskar Groening [BBC profile], known as the “accountant of Auschwitz,” for his role in the deaths of over 300,000 people during the Holocaust. Two months earlier the Neubrandenburg state court in Germany started the trial [JURIST report] of a 95-year-old former SS medic who served at the Auschwitz camp. The same month a court in Kiel, Germany, ruled that a 92-year-old woman charged with Nazi crimes was unfit to stand trial [JURIST report]. Prior to 2011 German prosecutors often chose not to charge individuals they regarded as “cogs” in, rather than active members of, the Nazi war machine. The 2011 conviction [JURIST report] of former Nazi guard John Demjanjuk [BBC profile] may have emboldened German prosecutors to pursue cases against all those who materially helped Nazi Germany function.