ANTWERP (JTA) – A Belgian Jewish newspaper complained to the country’s watchdog on journalism about a daily that published a Holocaust denier’s claim that no one died in Nazi gas chambers.
The Antwerp-based Joods Actueel monthly filed the complaint against the De Morgen daily last week, the monthly’s editor-in-chief, Michael Freilich, told JTA Monday.
In its complaint against De Morgen, Joods Actueel cited legislation from 1995 that forbids claiming the Holocaust did not happen – a law which Freilich claims was broken both by De Morgen and by the newpaper’s interviewee, Siegfried Verbeke.
In an interview published earlier this month, Verbeke, a far-right sympathizer with multiple convictions for inciting racial hate against Jews and denying the genocide, said: “Of course gas chambers existed, hundreds of them. To disinfect the clothes of people who went through them. But gas chambers designed to kill people never existed, no.”
The Belgian state’s authority for combatting discrimination, ICGK, said it was looking into legal action against Verbeke over this statement and Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever expressed support for his prosecution. But “De Morgen is for all intents and purposes an accomplice in this offence, and should answer for its actions,” Freilich said.
He and the management at Joods Actueel complained to the Belgian Council for Journalism over what they described as a “violation of ethics” regardless of whether De Morgen is charged with breaking the law.
“Even in the United States, where freedom of expression is greater than in Europe, a major paper, like, say, The Washington Post, would not consider interviewing David Duke,” Freilich said of that American Holocaust denier.