Holocaust denier’s jail term upped

An infamous neo-Nazi has had his prison sentence extended over controversial statements in two books.Gerd Honsik was sentenced to two years in prison by Vienna Criminal Court judge Andreas Böhm yesterday (Fri).The 68-year-old Austrian doubted the existence of gas chambers at Nazi era death camps in his books “Der Juden Drittes Reich” (The Jews’s Third Reich) and “Schelm und Scheusal” (Prankster and Monster).Honsik was convicted of breaking Austrian laws against spreading Nazi ideology in his book “Freispruch für Hitler?” (Acquittal for Hitler?) and sentenced to a year and a half in prison in 1992, but fled to Spain, where he gained a reputation as a leading far-right publicist.He was extradited after being arrested near the city of Malaga three years ago.The neo-Nazi was then sentenced to five years in prison for extreme-right statements in his magazine “Halt!” before Vienna’s Higher Regional Court (OLG) reduced his prison term to four years last March.Claims made in his books were part of previous trials, but prosecutors decided to press charges at that time to avoid delays. They announced plans to call for another trial against Honsik over the books’ contents in July.Honsik wrote the Nazis’ mass murder could be doubted, claiming there had been a “gas fraud”. The publicist further called for a “forensic examination” of the “alleged Holocaust”.He also referred to “experts and witnesses” claiming gas chambers at the concentration camp in Dachau, Germany, were “fakes installed subsequently”.Writing about the US army’s successful bid to free the German Third Reich from the Nazis regime, Honsik wrote that the “murders of the American Indians came to change the German society overall and tell us how to live”.Asked by the judge whether the US troops came to abolish democracy in Germany and Austria in 1945 as his books have it, Honsik said: “You must know my definition of what democracy means to discuss that.”He added the situation in the Nazi’s Third Reich empire was “not ideally democratic”.An appeal by Honsik’s defending lawyer Herbert Schaller to call Austrian President Heinz Fischer into the witness box was rejected – as was his appeal to look up the term “lie” in the Brockhaus encyclopaedia.