After the burial of a neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier on the grave of a scientist of Jewish descent in Stahnsdorf near Berlin, the Protestant bishop of Berlin Christian Stäblein found clear words: “You must be very clear, that was a mistake, a failure of our church,” Stäblein told the RBB broadcaster Radioeins.
Right-wing extremist Henry Hafenmayer, who died in August, was buried on Friday in the grave of musicologist Max Friedlaender (1852-1934). Numerous well-known neo-Nazi luminaries and right-wing extremists took part in the funeral ceremony with about 50 people under observation by Brandenburg State Security, including Horst Mahler, who was imprisoned for several years for sedition. The incident was first announced by the information services “Friedensdemo-Watch” and “Blick nach right”.
The musicologist Friedlaender was evangelically buried in the Southwestern Cemetery in 1934, but probably originally had Jewish roots. The grave expired in 1980, but the tombstone, like the entire cemetery, is a national monument.
“The fact that a neo-Nazi is lying on a Jewish grave is so shocking that there is no excuse for it in any way,” the bishop said. Friedlaender has the right not to have Holocaust deniers in his grave. “We can only try to undo that,” said Stäblein.
The funeral had sparked public outcry. The whole process left him stunned, said the chairman of the Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster Jewish general. It’s important to clarify how this funeral can be approved and draw conclusions from it, Schuster said. “Adding this grave to a Holocaust denier is a fatal mistake and devoid of tact,” Brandenburg Interior Minister Michael Stübgen (CDU) said.
Kerk knew that Hafenmayer was a right-wing extremist
According to their own statements, the regional church and cemetery knew that Hafenmayer was a Holocaust denier. The Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesia Upper Lusatia has decided not to reject the request for a cemetery in Stahnsdorf, as everyone has the right to a final resting place. According to the church, the man wanted a central grave.
After his death, his representative bought a grave in August, which was withdrawn because there were many graves of the Jewish deceased in the center area. On the basis of the funeral register, which includes Friedlaender with a Protestant denomination, the church then opted for a decentralized burial site, so that there was no point of contact for right-wing extremists.