Anti-Semitism officer files a complaint, bishop interrupts vacation

The burial of a neo-Nazi in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist in the evangelical south-west cemetery in Stahnsdorf causes outrage. The Berlin anti-Semitism commissioner Samuel Salzborn reported criminal charges on suspicion of disturbing the peace of the dead, disparaging the memory of the deceased and inciting the people, the Senate Department for Justice announced on Tuesday in Berlin. According to the regional church, the Protestant bishop Christian Stäblein interrupted his vacation because of the fall.

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“The burial of a Holocaust denier on the grave of Max Friedlaender is a terrible mistake and a shocking process in view of our history,” said the Bishop of the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia: “We have to see immediately whether and what we are reversing can do.”

The south-west cemetery, opened in 1909, belongs to the Protestant regional church, whose bishop Stäblein has been for around two years. The remains of the neo-Nazi Henry Hafenmayer from North Rhine-Westphalia were buried there last Friday. Numerous right-wing extremists took part in the funeral service, including the anti-Semite Horst Mahler, who had been imprisoned for a long time for sedition.

“The intention here is obvious that right-wing extremists have deliberately chosen a Jewish grave in order to disturb the peace of the dead by burying a Holocaust denier,” explained Salzborn: The “entire cemetery setting with convicted Holocaust deniers at the burial” requires a criminal investigation. He has therefore reported to the police in Brandenburg.

Samuel Salzborn is anti-Semitism commissioner for the state of Berlin.Photo: Kitty Kleist-Heinrich

Salzborn emphasized that he was also “in a constructive exchange” with the Protestant regional church about the consequences of the incident. It must be checked whether and, if so, how quickly the Holocaust denier can be reburied in order not to disturb the worthy memory of the musicologist Max Friedlaender any longer. Salzborn has been the contact for the State of Berlin on anti-Semitism since 2020.

The head of the anti-Semitism department in Brandenburg, Peter Schüler, asked the Evangelical Church to move the urn of neo-Nazi Hafenmeyer. “It is incomprehensible how it could happen that the memory of a German-Jewish scientist is denigrated by the funeral of a staunch Shoah denier and neo-Nazi, of all things,” he said.

The fact that high-ranking neo-Nazis from all over Germany and abroad came to the funeral shows “the importance of hero worship in the scene,” says Schüler: “The grave of Max Friedlaender must by no means become a place of pilgrimage for anti-Semites, which is why it is implemented Henry Hafenmayer’s urn is urgently needed. “

Evangelical Church speaks of a mistake

The more than 200 hectare south-west cemetery in Stahnsdorf is Germany’s largest Protestant cemetery. It is located south of Berlin in Brandenburg between Potsdam and Teltow, but belongs to Berlin under canon law.

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After the case became known, the regional church called the selection of the former grave of Max Friedlaender (1852-1934) for the burial on Monday as a mistake. The funeral was not accompanied by Protestants.

The decision not to refuse the request for a grave was made in the church administration in the consistory, said a church spokeswoman: “The principle is that everyone has a right to a final resting place.” The first request for a grave was made by the cemetery management has been rejected. (Tsp,epd)

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