Brotherhood ordered Williamson to skip Holocaust trial
English Catholic Bishop Richard Williamson wanted to appear in court to fight Holocaust denial charges in Bavaria this week, but was ordered to stay away by his ultra-conservative Saint Pius X Society, his lawyer told The Local Thursday.
“He told me he wanted to appear and I told him, ‘Yes it looks better if you are there,’ but the brotherhood told him he could not come,” lawyer Matthias Loßmann said.
Williamson’s trial on Holocaust denial charges is set to begin Friday before a court in the southern city of Regensburg. He will not appear personally but will rather be represented by Loßmann.
The charges stem from remarks Williamson, a member of the breakaway ultra-conservative Saint Pius X Society, made during a television interview recorded in Germany in 2009 that "200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but none of them by gas chambers."
"It was all lies, lies, lies," he said in the interview, aired later on Swedish television, and "not one Jew" was killed in the Nazi gas chambers.
Williamson was fined €12,000 earlier this year by a Regensburg court but elected to contest that fine and face a court trial. Loßmann said that if Williamson were to lose the coming trial, he could face a harsher penalty, including even a prison sentence, though he would most likely simply have to pay the fine.
Loßmann acknowledged there was no doubt Williamson made the remarks, but said he had never intended the interview to be broadcast in Germany. The fact he made the remarks on German soil did not necessarily make him guilty under the country’s laws prohibiting the denial or trivialisation of the Holocaust, Loßmann said.