Yesterday afternoon, authorities arrested notorious German Holocaust Denier Horst Mahler in the western Hungarian city of Sopron, according to a press release by Hungarian police.
Mahler, age 81, illegally left Germany and fled to Hungary, where he hoped to gain asylum. The far-right firebrand received a 10-year prison sentence in 2009 for “inciting hate and for denial of the Holocaust,” both of which are crimes in Germany. In 2015, he was released from prison and placed on probation due to a “serious illness,” the New York Times reports.
Last month, Mahler failed to show up for a mandatory check-in at a prison west of Berlin, and subsequently fled to Hungary, where he appealed to the Orbán government for protection. In a letter published Monday in the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, Mahler publicly asked “the leader of the Hungarian nation, Viktor Orban, to grant me asylum as someone who is being politically persecuted.” In reality, as Hungarian officials pointed out, Mahler would have no way to receive asylum in Hungary, since both Germany and Hungary are members of the EU.
Today known for his anti-American, anti-Semitic outbursts, Mahler was in fact originally a prominent figure in the German far-left. Following decades in leftist circles, Mahler became increasingly radical, and in 1974 was sent to prison for committing bank robberies as part of the radical-left Red Army Faction. Bizarrely, the onetime hard-core leftist made a shift over to the far-right in the 1990s, joining the National Democratic Party, and becoming an increasingly strident proponent of neo-fascist rhetoric and Holocaust denial.
He has consistently denied the existence of Hitler’s systematic extermination of millions of Jews, and has said publicly that “in truth, the Jewish people are our enemy.” Ironically, although his parents were members of the Nazi Party, Mahler himself is of Jewish ancestry.
The Municipal Court’s press office told Hungarian wire service MTI that the date of Mahler’s hearing will be set today.
Via MTI, Hungary Matters, police.hu, the New York Times, index.hu, hvg.hu, and 24.hu
Image via Spiegel Online