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Charges widened against Holocaust revisionist

A court in Lausanne has widened the charges against a Swiss Holocaust revisionist. It accepted a prosecution request that an article published this month by the 79-year-old Gaston-Armand Amaudruz (pictured left) be taken into account.

A court in Lausanne has widened the charges against a Swiss Holocaust revisionist. It accepted a prosecution request that an article published this month by the 79-year-old Gaston-Armand Amaudruz (pictured left) be taken into account.

The 79-year old is considered the main spokesman of Switzerland's fascist groups, which are inspired directly by Nazi ideology. He is accused of publicly denying the Holocaust, particularly the existence of gas chambers in Nazi death camps, in an article written five years ago.

In his monthly newsletter, Amaudruz has also recommended books, which advocate revisionist theories claiming the Holocaust is a myth. Charges have been brought against him by a number of organisations, including the Swiss Jewish Community, the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, and families of deported Jews in France.

The former insurance employee faces a jail term of up to three years and a SFr 40,000 fine, if convicted. A verdict is expected on April 10.

Amaudruz has been an active promoter of Nazi ideology since the end of World War Two. He helped set up right-wing extremist groups in Switzerland and cooperated with right-wingers in other European countries, including former members of the Nazi militia. Their policies were aimed at segregating non-Europeans, and introducing strict rules for inter-racial marriages and birth control.

For decades, most of Amaudruz's activities were limited to small circles. But they did not go unnoticed by the Federal Police authorities, which have kept files on him since World War Two. They suspect him of having had close ties with representatives of the Nazi regime in Berne during the war years.

Only in the mid-1980s did extremist groups come into the open to oppose the planned introduction of anti-racism legislation in Switzerland. Amaudruz was one of the speakers who addressed a demonstration to fight the proposal in Lucerne in 1989. At the time he was also a member of a widely-respected right-wing grouping led by the populist politician, Christoph Blocher.

In 1995, Swiss voters approved new legislation, which made it an offence to discriminate against people on racial grounds or to incite racial hatred. The law also made it illegal to deny proven acts of genocide, including the Holocaust.

swissinfo and agencies

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