Edmonton

No warm welcome home for Alberta Holocaust denier

A Jasper, Alta., woman who spent time in a German prison for denying the Holocaust says she has not received a warm welcome home by the people in her community.

'The hostility from a lot of the people here is such that I felt like hey, it's gotten worse'

A new video featuring Monika Schaefer was posted on YouTube Nov. 15. (Emilio Avalos/CBC)

A Jasper, Alta., woman who spent time in a German prison for denying the Holocaust says she has not received a warm welcome home by the people in her community.

Monika Schaefer, 59, and her German-Canadian brother Alfred Schaefer, 63, were convicted by a German court of "incitement of hatred" charges in October.

Schaefer gained notoriety in July 2016 after appearing in a YouTube video in which she described the Holocaust as the "biggest and most pernicious and persistent lie in all of history."

Holocaust denial is a criminal offence in Germany.

Schaefer was sentenced to 10 months in jail but was released because she had been in prison in Germany since charges were laid in January.

Her brother received a prison sentence of three years and two months.

In a video posted on YouTube Nov. 15, Schaefer talks about her conviction, her time in prison and her surprise at how the community in Jasper has responded to her return.

She said she expected people would be kinder toward her because she had been imprisoned "just for speaking," but that has not been the case.

'Ritual defamation'

Instead, the "ritual defamation" she experienced before she went to Germany has worsened, she said.

"The hostility from a lot of the people here is such that I felt like, hey, it's gotten worse," Schaefer said in the video.

People "feel vindicated" in their attitude toward her because she was convicted, she said. 

Schaefer said she is not looking for forgiveness from people because that is "assuming I did something wrong."

B'nai Brith Canada alerted German authorities to the Holocaust-denial video produced by the Schaefers in Germany.

"I'm not surprised to see her speaking this way, portraying herself as a victim," said Ran Ukashi.

"She's unrepentant in the hate propaganda she has and continues to promulgate," he said. "In reality she did commit a crime under German law and was prosecuted as such."