THAT ATHENS 2007 WILL NOT BE MADE INTO ANOTHER BERLIN OF 1933
Everybody to the Athens Appeals Court on 3rd December
SO THAT THE PRO-NAZI JUDICIAL EXCESSES OF 11TH SEPTEMBER ARE NOT REPEATED
So that Plevris, the precursor of genocide, is not acquitted
Anti-Nazi Initiative calls
upon all democratic people to raise the alarm, come to court and support the
democratically-minded witnesses and counsel for the plaintiffs in the trial
against the Nazi K Plevris and the newspaper “Eleftheros Kosmos”, which began
on 11th September and was adjourned to be reconvened on 3rd December (for more
information on the indictment against K. Plevris for his anti-Semitic book “Jews,
the whole truth” refer to http://www.antinazi.gr/english/frameup.htm).
Anti-fascist friends, this is no ordinary trial. It is not a trial in which a small minority group of Nazi racists are denounced by democratically-minded people and punished by the authorities in some European country. It is not just a case of one extoller of the virtues of the Third Reich producing a repulsive 1,400-page-long book calling upon people to rid our country of Jews, and it is not just about the fact that the Jews of this country together with non-Jewish anti-fascists take this person to court for extraordinary and blatant violation of international laws against racial prejudice. It is not about pursuing advocates of racial violence from the fringes of society so distasteful to some theoretical defenders of “freedom of speech”.
No. This trial is a matter of life and death in respect of political democracy in our country. September 11th showed that the country we live in does not practise even rudimentary democracy. September 11th 2007 will go down in the judicial and political history of this country and the whole of Europe as the day when, 60 years after World War II, a court in a European country acted in defence of Nazis and racists, turning against their victims and those who defended them.
At the outset the court made sure it removed the counsel representing the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) and the Jewish woman Gilbert who is a member of Greek Helsinki Monitor from the proceedings on the “grounds” that the book did not affect the plaintiffs (i.e. the Jews) directly and that it is up to the state to defend anyone who may have been wronged by the book. This having been done, the witnesses for the plaintiffs were left without any support in the face of the unbelievable procedure that followed, which seemed more like a trial in Hitler’s Germany of 1936 than one in a European country in 2007. As there was no one to defend the witnesses for the plaintiffs, the court launched into an infringement of their rights. In other words it constantly interrupted them, commented sarcastically about their being quaint or uneducated, did not concern itself at all with what was stated in the charges and forbade the witnesses to mention the laws against racial discrimination. In this way, it was like the witnesses for the plaintiffs were being accused right from the outset. It was the intention of the court to make the witnesses for the plaintiffs be regarded either as opponents of free speech (this coming from the public prosecutor) or quaint folk making a lot of fuss about a non-existent threat of racial discrimination (this coming from the presiding judge). The protagonist and “shining star” of this onslaught was Public Prosecutor Lazarakos whose rich verbal assault included declaring his stance that Mr Plevris’ Nazi monstrosity was a piece of “scientific writing” and that the author was a “qualified historian and a scientist”. As one of the witnesses for the plaintiffs fervently and vociferously refused to accept this definition of the author, the public prosecutor even reached the point of threatening to have her arrested and put in a cell.
This all took place amid applause, loud laughter and interruptions from the Nazis gathered in the courtroom.
What follows is taken from statements made in court:
- The Public Prosecutor started questioning Anna Stai of Antinazi Initiative and the first witness for the plaintiffs (it lasted an hour and a half). He began: “Let’s start with this question so that we can assess the validity of your testimony. What is your educational background?” The following exchange took place later with Irene Koutelou, the second witness for the plaintiffs who is also from Anti-Nazi Initiative:
Public Prosecutor: “So, you are qualified in law. Very good. Let me ask then what an offence of endangerment is. Never mind now. We might take it up later”.
Judge (sarcastically): “When she takes her examinations”.
Koutelou: “I have already passed my examinations. I am a practising lawyer”.
- The Public Prosecutor persistently referred to the anti-fascists’ attempt to “silence” the Nazi Plevris and when Mrs Stai refused to recognise Mr Plevris’ book as “a scientific treatise” he said:
"What I am trying to establish is that his (Mr Plevris’) work is a piece of scientific writing. The whole spirit of your statement is a refusal to accept that his work is of a scientific nature. Do you recognise a scientific nature and scientific terminology in Mr Plevris’ book?"
Witness: “Of course not! ...That would be too much”.
Slightly later, when the witness said: "I did not come here to evaluate a scientific treatise,” the Public Prosecutor retorted:
"But it is a scientific treatise!”
Public Prosecutor: “Mr Plevris is a scientist!! Whether or not we like him as a scientist is a question of our own critical powers, it does not mean we should throw him into the dungeon”.
- The witness is adamant in not accepting Mr Plevris as a scientist. In defence of the Nazi’s right to deny that the Holocaust and genocide of the Jews ever took place, the Public Prosecutor said:
Public Prosecutor: “There has been discussion of history in this country recently, sparked by the publication of a book. Is that not so? The experts, one faction of the experts, that is, say that history repeats itself – that historical record renews itself. So you see that the science of history is at present in a state of uncertainty”.
At another point, when the witness says the Nazi is not expressing “opinions”, but blatantly inciting racial violence when he writes: "Jews should be executed within 24 hours because that is the only thing they understand”, the Public Prosecutor threatens with: “Look here madam. Let me explain something to you. This court is indulging you. But I can’t tolerate you! If you carry on like this, I will have you arrested and looked up in a cell!”
- At one point Public Prosecutor Mr Lazarakos overstepped the boundaries and even spoke about Nazi justice, in effect threatening the witness with it:
Public Prosecutor: “As an anti-Nazi, do you have the right to write a book against the Nazis?”
Witness: “I have an obligation to write a book against the Nazis”.
Public Prosecutor: “Excellent. Excellent. In your opinion you have an obligation to do so. And Mr Plevris believes that he is under an obligation to write the things that he wants to write. Now. Would you like to be tried and condemned by a Nazi court or a Nazi state?”
In an attempt to bring him under control but also to excuse him, the judge says:
Judge: “Oh, no! Let’s not go to such extremes”.
Witness (in surprise): “Can this possibly be happening!” ..............
- At another point, when the witness refers to a specific excerpt from the book, in which Mr Plevris openly says that all those who do not teach theoretical anti-Semitism of nazi type in schools are infidels and traitors and should be hanged, the Public Prosecutor interrupts with:
Public Prosecutor: “Nowadays schools teach that there was overcrowding in Smyrni”*.
- Later, when the witness draws attention to the fact that Nazism itself constitutes a call to racial violence and that Mr Plevris says in his book “I will not tolerate people who tell lies about my wonderful national socialists,” and also that, "The fall of Nazism is the fall of Europe and the white race,” the Public Prosecutor replies:
Public Prosecutor: “Has anybody condemned the Jews and persecuted them for their beliefs? IF (???) Hitler did, everyone condemned him; the whole of humanity, en masse. When the Jews say they are the chosen people on earth, does anyone prosecute them?”
- The witness accuses the Nazi author of wanting the annihilation of the Jews purely and simply because they exist. This exchange follows:
Mrs Stai: " ...Exactly as Hitler did".
Public Prosecutor (cutting her short): “Leave Hitler alone!!”
Mrs Stai: “Yes, "What! Leave Hitler alone". This is Hitler writing in here (meaning the book).
Public Prosecutor (cutting her short): “Leave Hitler alone!”
- The witness asked that a video tape showing a meeting of Nazis at the Hotel “President” with Mr Plevris speaking in favour of annihilating all Jews and the audience, readers of the book, shouting “to the gallows” and applauding enthusiastically, be accepted as evidence. The Public Prosecutor answered: "No, you will not deposit this tape Mrs Stai”. Later on the witness made the same request of the presiding judge, hoping to show that Mr Plevris already had followers, and added that at the Hotel “President” Mr Plevris himself said: “I did not say that all Jews should die. It is another issue if I have thought so ”. The presiding judge interrupted her saying: “What’s that got to do with us now?”
- The presiding judge was sarcastic towards the witness and said: "Let me tell you something. When you are trying to support positions here… try to avoid too descriptive language."
The witness mentions another excerpt from the book:
Mrs Stai: (Mr Plevris writes): “They are doing the right thing in keeping Auschwitz in good condition.”
Presiding Judge: “So that people can visit it”.
Mrs Stai: “No, no, of course not! "Because (Mr Plevris writes) no one knows what the future will bring”.
Presiding Judge (sarcastically): “So why don’t we just build another? It’ can’t be that difficult”.
- While the second witness for the plaintiffs, Mrs Irene Koutelou, who is also a member of Anti-Nazi Initiative, was giving evidence she pointed out that the Nazi author deliberately preached hatred and violence and the Public Prosecutor asked: “But where do you see this intention?"
Witness: “The intention is evident in his writing”.
Public Prosecutor: “Because he is a bit eager in his use of his pen?”
- At another point the witness said that the Holocaust was one of the reasons why the Greek government established the law against racial discrimination.
Public Prosecutor: “So the law against racial discrimination was established by the Jews and their Holocaust?”
Public Prosecutor: “Are you serious? What are you talking about, madam? What are you talking about? …Now though the Germans may have feelings of guilt and condemn those who dispute the Holocaust, it is not so in Greece." And shortly after this he says:
Public Prosecutor: “In 1979 nobody suspected anything about the Holocaust. Now in these last two years some things have been going on in Europe and in France and Germany there have been some cases of courts convicting people on the basis of constitutionally dubious laws”. The witness continues and tells him that the laws against non-recognition of the Holocaust were made because we do not want this sort of thing to be repeated and the Public Prosecutor then says: “Listen here, madam. So that “this sort of thing is not repeated”? … That is the mentality of Nasredin Hodja. Right? “So that you don’t break the jug” Hodja says to his son, “I’ll beat you in advance and then you’ll be more careful!”. Then the Public Prosecutor starts an incredibly fervent defence of the Nazi’s right to “speak his mind” and adds:
"Here you see all sorts of perverts and drug addicts around, and along come all the woolly-minded intelligentsia and the liberals and they say: “Oh! What about the right to diversity? Oh! What about the right to freedom of speech?” And we all say: “That’s nice and rosy!"
Towards the end of this witness’s giving evidence the Public Prosecutor defended Mr Plevris, saying:
Public Prosecutor: “Madam, I shall read you something he (Mr Plevris) says. What do you have to say about this? At this point he says: "Again and again I must stress that I do not set myself against the Jews as individuals or as a people, a race or nation. But against their religion. Because it teaches that the Jews made a covenant with their God, Jehovah, under which they would worship him and he would ensure that they would govern all nations of the world.” And if anybody is racist, it is the people who write this into their religion”. The Nazis in the courtroom applaud him enthusiastically at this and Irene Koutelou answers: "Mr Plevris writes that precisely so that he can use it as camouflage, in exactly the same way as you have just used it".
This atmosphere that prevailed in the Athens Appeals Court on 11th September did not come about as the result of pure coincidence in the composition of the court. It is no coincidence that not only did the political parties not make a political issue of the case, but they did everything in their power to keep it out of the press and also out of their own parties’ printed matter and electronic means of communication. Neither it is coincidence that all political factions, mobilizing or non-mobilizing, with few exceptions, studiously discouraged members of their parties from attending the trial and thereby lending their support, if only by their presence, against the “uniformed” Nazi audience in the courtroom. It was not by coincidence that parties and political undercurrents took this stance when the defendants at the trial (Mr K Plevris), witnesses for the defence (Mr Naxakis), defending counsel (Mr Th Plevris) and others who defended the book (Mr A Georgiades, who has called it his favourite book) have been candidates in the past and were also standing in the recent national elections as candidates for the LAOS party that was trying to gain marginal representation in the Parliament. (Mr Georgiades and Mr Th Plevris have been elected members of parliament). Even if they had any delusions about the nature of this trial before it began, they knew what happened after the trial because some large circulation newspapers at least wrote about the parody of 11th September. Yet all parties still kept quiet about it until 16th September, the date of the elections. They were therefore knowing accomplices in preventing the people of Greece from finding out what LAOS party really is, so many people who are politically unaware, conservative or desperate, voted for this party, helping it to get into Parliament and even putting the Nazi defenders of the book in the House. This is only possible because the country is sinking deeper and deeper into the darkest and most absurd form of chauvinism with every day that passes.
Anti-Nazi Initiative calls upon all democratically-minded people to smash this political protectionism of Nazis, who are already brazen enough to physically assault immigrants and speak as if they are the up and coming political power. In particular it calls upon them to stamp out the groundless, liberal or anarchic argument that it is wrong to impose any sort of restrictions on anyone for holding any beliefs whatsoever or that genuine social revolutionaries cannot form alliances with restrictive bourgeois repressive mechanisms against anyone. The call for the annihilation of a people whose only “crime” is that they were born as members of a certain race or nationality does not anymore constitute an opinion. It is the first step towards an act of mass savage murder and could only be punished after it had plunged humanity into the first mass international and "scientific" experience of its kind in the guise of Hitlerism in World War II. Not all calls for violence are punished under international laws against racial discrimination, ONLY calls for RACIAL violence. Punishment for violence of this sort was not enforced by the bourgeois state due to an initiative of bourgeois class, but because such was the position, the will and the demand of the prospective victims of the savagery, and of all peoples in the world who know that each time the "guilty and demonic people” becomes target, their turn comes next.
That is why every democratically-minded person should be at the trial on 3rd December and should mobilise himself in anticipation of it to denounce Nazis and those who protect them. No one should be under any delusions. When on 11th September the Greek political establishment allowed the court to remove the counsel for the plaintiff from the court and allowed Public Prosecutor Mr Lazarakos to sing the praises of Mr Plevris, it was not for bringing in a guilty verdict against him eventually. The first act in particular was done so that it could be regarded as “ground gained” when the case comes to court on 3rd December, without holding the composition of the new court liable, but only that of the 11th September court. All this took place to prevent the conviction of Mr Plevris. The establishment does not want Mr Plevris to be found guilty of a criminal offence so that LAOS is not politically condemned with him. It does not want LAOS party to be condemned politically because this mostly overt, very well promoted pro-Nazi monster within the EU has now become an integral part of the core political establishment in Greece. We must not let it get another booster shot on 3rd December. In general terms, we must not let the most sickly form of chauvinism, anti-Semitism and the huge new social fears that poison the people become a strong and massive undercurrent. They are already large in numbers but still restrained. Let us not allow them to acquire moral and political legitimacy.
Note: Anti-Nazi Initiative has gathered data from this trial and has recorded the greater part of the proceedings in a text which you will find here: http://www.antinazi.gr/articles/prakt_dik.doc Unfortunately it is only in the Greek Language. The part concerning the removal of the counsel for the plaintiffs from the court is missing, but every effort is being made to acquire it as soon as possible.
Athens, 26th October 2007
• About the
reference to history of Smyrni (Greek word for the city Izmir in Turkey). The
public prosecutor refers scornfully to a new history book written for last class
of elementary school, where the war conflict between Greece and Turkey of 1919-1922
is being described in moderate spirit in an attempt to avoid cultivating anti-Turkish
sentiment. During that conflict the part of the city where Greek population
resided was set to fire and there were thousands of refugees forced to flee
by sea. To describe this event the authors used the phrase "the seaside
of Izmir was overcrowded". The book was publicly burnt by members of nazi
"Golden Dawn" and after a strong general nationalistic outcry it has
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