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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Time has come for the Nazi Grandma

Por Feco

Ursula Haverbeck, better known as the Nazi grandma, has been arrested and imprisoned at 89 years of age. The octogenarian is a prominent figure among the negationist circles of the Holocaust and argues that Auschwitz was not a center of extermination but only a field of work. Haverbeck was taken at her home in the town of Vlotho in central Germany, after a five-day search.

The Nazi grandma is a repeat offender. According to El País, Haverbeck had been convicted in the past, but previous sentences were appealed and until now she had never been jailed. Two years ago, she had already been condemned for sending letters to a mayor and a newspaper, where she denied the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, including the death of six million Jews. "The Holocaust is the biggest lie in history," she had said. Last August, the German justice sentenced the octogenarian to two years in prison on eight counts of incitement to hatred.

On April 23, the old woman should have been imprisoned, but she did not show up, so last Sunday, the Verden public prosecutor's office in the north of the country issued an arrest warrant. Article 130 of the German penal code establishes that "who publicly or in a meeting denies, approves or minimizes an act committed during the National Socialist regime [...] will be punished with a prison sentence of up to five years".

From the international committee of Auschwitz showed their concern on Sunday and urged the German authorities to intensify the search for the old woman. "We hope that the police are looking for her intensely," Christoph Heubner of the committee told the German news agency DPA.

On Monday, officers have gone to the old woman's house in Vlotho, north-western Germany, and have arrested her. Finally, Haverbeck has entered the prison in Bielefeld in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Monday. Nazi Grandma wrote for a far-right publication entitled Stimme des Reiches, where she expressed her denial thesis without complexes. Werner Georg, the deceased husband of the negationist grandmother, was a well-known leader of the Nazi party, which in the early 1960s founded an ecologist and far-right educational center called Collegium Humanum.

In 2008, the German Ministry of the Interior ended up banning the center for its "repeated denial of the Holocaust." Prosecutors said that “after the convict failed to report to the relevant penal institution within the deadline, prosecutors in Verden on May 4, 2018, issued an order to execute the sentence and have charged police with its implementation". According to international media, there was a fierce debate over whether Haverbeck was physically fit enough to endure two years in jail but last week the state prosecutor's office wrote to her saying she should report to prison to start her sentence on 2nd May.