Criticism for return of radio host in ‘Holocaust denial’ row

Criticism for return of radio host in 'Holocaust denial' row
Photo: RBB
Berlin’s Jewish community has criticised the reinstatement of a radio host who sent an email to a listener which appeared to deny the Holocaust.

The Jewish Community of Berlin criticised the decision this week, calling it “surprising” that Ken Jebsen has been allowed to continue his popular KenFM show on Radio Fritz, a station operated by the state-run Radio Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), according to Tagesspiegel.

He sent a rambling email to a listener earlier this month in which he wrote, “I know who invented the holocaust as PR. It was Freud’s nephew.”

It ended up posted on the blog of a high-profile columnist for Die Welt newspaper. It prompted a firestorm of criticism and led to Jebsen’s temporary suspension from the airwaves two weeks ago.

Yet he was allowed to begin broadcasting again last Sunday – after consultations with station management, RBB told the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

Future show topics must be vetted with station personnel first, according to the newspaper.

In a message aired on his radio program Sunday, Jebsen said it was absurd to say he was a Holocaust denier and that a private email to a listener had been misunderstood.

He said he was being ironic in addressing how propaganda was used, by using a phrase from Edward Bernays, the nephew of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, Tagesspiegel reported.

“This is not Holocaust denial. If the Jewish community in particular feels offended by this sentence, I am sorry,” he said, the paper wrote.

Yet the Maya Zehden, spokeswoman for Berlin Jewish Community said it was not a question of whether Jebsen was anti-Semitic or not. “It is the question of whether such comments can simply be moved to the every-day agenda,” she said.

Yet RBB spokesman Volker Schreck said, “It was not about showing a tough reaction, rather it was about explaining.”

The Local/mdm