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'Nazi grandma' sentenced for Holocaust denial

World

Berlin - A notorious 87-year-old Holocaust denier dubbed the "Nazi grandma" by German media was sentenced to eight months in prison on Friday on charges of sedition relating to her claim that Auschwitz was never used for the mass extermination of Jews.

Ursula Haverbeck, whose criminal record includes another 10-month jail sentence that she is currently appealing, wrote a letter to the mayor of Detmold in which she claimed it is "clearly recognisable" that Auschwitz was nothing more than a labour camp.

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In Germany, anyone who publicly endorses, denies or plays down the mass murder of Jews during the Third Reich faces a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a minimum of a fine.

The letter was written during the Detmold trial of Reinhold Hanning, a 94-year-old former Auschwitz concentration camp guard. Hanning was sentenced to five years in prison after the court found him guilty as an accessory to the murder of more than 170 000 people, mostly Jews.

In her letter, Haverbeck referred to the Holocaust survivors who gave testimony at the trial as "alleged witnesses" brought to Detmold for the sole purpose of proving that Auschwitz was a death camp.

The leading judge in the case said on Friday that Haverbeck refused to see reason and that her most recent comments to the court also made her liable to prosecution.

Haverbeck is a notorious right-wing extremist whose supporters often appear at her trials.

Various German courts have sentenced the recalcitrant Holocaust denier and her criminal record includes two fines and another suspended sentence for sedition.

She was taken to court last year for claiming on television that "the Holocaust is the biggest and longest-lasting lie in history."

Haverbeck announced her intention to appeal Friday's verdict.

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