Wednesday, December 1

“Terrible mistake”: the ashes of the German neo-Nazis buried in the plot of a Jewish scholar | Germany

The management of a cemetery church on the outskirts of Berlin has said it made a “terrible mistake” in allowing the ashes of a prominent Holocaust denier to be buried in the grave of a Jewish musicologist.

Henry Hafenmayer, a 48-year-old neo-Nazi activist, was buried last Friday at the Stahnsdorf South-Western Cemetery in Brandenburg in a ceremony attended by notorious right-wing extremists, including Horst Mahler, a founding member of Baader-Meinhof. group turned neo-Nazi.

Before his illness-related death in August, Hafenmayer had gained martyrdom status in German far-right circles after being sentenced to prison for a series of anti-Semitic letters to public institutions that described the Holocaust as a “lie.”

Burial photographs show that Hafenmayer’s urn was buried in a burial site in front of a tombstone of Jewish scholar Max Friedländer, a Prussian-born singer and music scholar who died of a stroke in Berlin in 1934.

During the burial, Friedländer’s tombstone was covered with a black cloth and a sign with Hafenmayer’s name and a quote from John 8:32: “And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

The Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg and Upper Silesian Lusatia, which administers the 200-hectare cemetery, said that the burial plot had been reclaimed for further burials and that Friedländer’s cremated remains had been removed, as is common practice with graves whose leases are not renewed after a “rest period” of 10 to 20 years.

However, Friedländer’s headstone had been left standing since it was declared a listed monument.

The cemetery administration said it had rejected an initial request from the neo-Nazi lawyer for a more centrally located funeral location, fearing that the Stahnsdorf South-Western Cemetery could become a rallying point for right-wing extremists.

A follow-up request had been granted to bury Hafenmayer at the site of Friedländer’s ancient grave based on the principle that every human being has “the right to a final resting place”, and because the cemetery record included the musician. and to the scholar as a Protestant at the time of his death.

However, the church admitted that it had misjudged the situation and was considering moving the urn containing the ashes of the neo-Nazis to another plot.

“The burial of a Holocaust denier in the grave of Max Friedländer is a terrible mistake and an astonishing course of events in view of our history,” said Christian Stäblein, bishop of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg and Upper Lusatia of Silesia. . “We have to investigate immediately if we can reverse this process.”

Berlin’s anti-Semitism officer Samuel Salzborn filed a criminal complaint with the justice department on Tuesday. “It is obvious that right-wing extremists deliberately chose a Jewish grave to disturb eternal peace by burying a Holocaust denier.”

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