11 November 1916|
|Died||5 April 2006(aged 89)|
|Occupation||army officer, judge, author, historian, Holocaust denier|
Born on 11 November 1916, he studied law and political science at the University of Rostock and the University of Göttingen, from where he received a doctorate in law (Dr. jur.) in 1951. For years he served as a Finance Court judge in Hamburg. He was the author of numerous articles on legal and historical subjects. During the Second World War he served from mid-July to mid-September 1944 as an Ordonnanzoffizier (orderly officer) on the staff of an anti-aircraft detachment stationed near the Auschwitz camp. As part of his duties, he maintained contact with the SS camp command, and had unlimited access to the Auschwitz main camp, where the command was headquartered.
Holocaust denial charges
In 1974 a disciplinary hearing was conducted against Stäglich, then a financial judge, owing to his membership in the far-right NPD party and his incessant publications in far-right magazines; the result was a forced early retirement with a reduced pension for five years.
In 1979 the Tübingen-based Grabert Verlag published Stäglich's book Der Auschwitz-Mythos - Legende oder Wirklichkeit (The Auschwitz Myth - Legend or Reality), in which he denied the existence of gas chambers in the Nazi concentration camps and death camps, and claimed that all documents relating to the Holocaust were forgeries. As early as 1980 this book was seized nationwide on the order of the state court of Stuttgart, and in 1982 it was placed on a list of materials that may not be distributed to young readers, following a decision by Germany's Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons. The decision to confiscate the book was upheld by the Federal Court of Justice in 1983. Following this, the University of Göttingen instituted proceedings against Stäglich in order to formally discredit the doctoral degree he had received there in 1951, ironically on the basis of a law promulgated during the Hitler era.
Eckhard Jesse, a German political scientist and authority on radical politics, has defended the publication of the book The Auschwitz Myth. Stäglich, he says, was stripped of his doctoral title because it was deemed to be undeserved, under a law dating from 1939. Jesse: "Even those who see his work as anti-Semitic – and here comes the warning – must question these decisions for two reasons. Firstly it is patronising to the public, who are assumed to lack judgement, hardly evidence of liberality; second, the far-right sees the decision as an affirmation, and outsiders might also believe, that there 'must be something' to Stäglich's arguments. You get the impression an example is being made [of Stäglich]."
For years Stäglich was a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee of the Institute for Historical Review's Journal of Historical Review. His address in 1983 at the Fifth Conference of the Institute for Historical Review was published in the Spring 1984 issue of the IHR's journal. In 1986 an English-language edition of his book was published by the IHR under the title Auschwitz: A Judge Looks at the Evidence.
In February 2015, Germar Rudolf's Castle Hill Publishers reissued Stäglich's book Auschwitz: A Judge Looks at the Evidence, and it is a "corrected and slightly revised" edition.
- Stephen E. Atkins (2009). "German Holocaust Deniers". Holocaust Denial as an International Movement. ABC-CLIO. p. 108. ISBN 9780313345388. Preview at Google Books.
- Sybille Steinbacher (2004). Auschwitz (in German). C.H.Beck. p. 120. ISBN 9783406508332. Preview at Google Books.
- Lucian Hölscher, Tillmann Bendikowski, Thomas Mittmann and Gunnar Sandkühler (2008). Political Correctness: der sprachpolitische Streit um die nationalsozialistischen Verbrechen (in German). Wallstein. p. 45. ISBN 9783835303447. Preview at Google Books.
- Mit Eifer und Freude im KZ Der Spiegel, 26 January 1981. Retrieved 11 September 2010. (in German)
- Ralf Forsbach (2006). Die Medizinische Fakultät der Universität Bonn im "Dritten Reich" (in German). Oldenbourg. p. 420. ISBN 9783486579895. Preview at Google Books,
- Eckhard Jesse (2008). Demokratie in Deutschland: Diagnosen und Analysen (in German). Böhlau. pp. 90–91. ISBN 9783412201579. Preview at Google Books.
Original quotation: "Dem Autor ist 1983 von der Universität Göttingen aufgrund eines Gesetzes von 1939 wegen Unwürdigkeit der Doktortitel aberkannt worden. Auch wer dessen Arbeit als antisemitisch ansieht – hier ist das Monitum angebracht –, muss aus zwei Gründen diese Entscheidungen Bedenken anmelden. Erstens ist Bevormundung des Bürgers, dem fehlendes Urteilsvermögen unterstellt wird, kein Beleg für Liberalität; zweitens sieht sich der Rechtsextremismus bestätigt, und Außenstehende könnten glauben, an des Thesen Stäglichs sei „doch etwas dran“. Man hat den Eindruck, ein Exempel solle statuiert werden."
- Much of this article is translated from the German Wikipedia article of March 2nd 2007
- Wilhelm Stäglich: Der Auschwitz-Mythos Holocaust-Referenz: Argumente gegen Auschwitzleugner. (in German)