Hate speech complaint filed against Jasper woman for Holocaust denial video
Green Party condemns former candidate's 'terribly misguided' statements
On her Facebook page, Monika Schaefer lists herself as a self-employed violin instructor.
In the first five seconds of her video titled "Sorry Mom, I was wrong about the Holocaust," the former Green party candidate is shown deftly playing the violin.
However, it's not her violin playing but what she says in the video that is garnering all of the attention.
This isthe biggest and most pernicious and persistent lie in all of history.- Monika Schaefer
Less than three minutes into the video Schaefer, who was born in Canada of German heritage, tells a story of how as a child she was taught to believe the Holocaust happened.
She goes on to say she confronted her parents about why they didn't do anything to stop the Holocaust. They replied they didn't know it was happening. Schaefer says her parents didn't know about the genocide because "these things did not happen."
Later in the video she says that since 2014 she started to realize the Holocaust "is the biggest and most pernicious and persistent lie in all of history."
Throughout the video she expresses her firm belief that six million Jews did not die at the hands of Nazi Germany and refers to the Holocaust as "the six-million lie."
Human rights complaint
Reaction to her video has been wide ranging.
In the comments section under her YouTube posting, there are supporters — some even applauding her for "speaking the truth." But just as many are condemning the Jasper music teacher's comments.
Ken Kuzminski is one of them.
It is a hate crime in my mind and I believe it should be investigated as such.- Ken Kuzminski
Kuzminski used to be friends with Schaefer but says that all changed after he saw her video. He says many people have approached him in the town of Jasper in disbelief over what Schaefer has said.
"It is a hate crime in my mind and I believe it should be investigated as such," said Kuzminski, who is also the president of the local Legion in Jasper.
He says Schaefer is no longer welcomed at the legion.
Kuzminski filed a complaint with the Alberta and Canadian Human Rights Commission, citing Schaefer's denial of the Holocaust as hate speech.
"By allowing it to be unchallenged like this gives licence to the people that want to spread hatred, and ignorance even further, and you see that on the comments of her YouTube videos, the hatred that's being expressed there," said Kuzminski.
The Edmonton Jewish Federation wasn't aware of Schaefer's YouTube video or its contents.
After watching it, Tal Toubiana, the director of community relations and communications for the federation, was hesitant to give Schaefer any further attention.
"Any media coverage inadvertently gives her a larger audience and platform," he said.
Despite that, Toubiana added: "I find it curious that a woman who allegedly faced bullying based on her country of origin would rather continue a cycle of irreflexive hate than reflect deeply on the wounded history and trauma the Holocaust did create.
The Holocaust is a historical event that is not only undeniable in regards to the facts and documentation of its existence, but in the collective trauma it created.- Tal Toubiana
"The Holocaust is a historical event that is not only undeniable in regards to the facts and documentation of its existence, but in the collective trauma it created. Ms. Schaefer is a product of the very trauma she claims does not exist.
"Genocide sadly has not stopped at the Holocaust and lives continue to be lost all over the world. Perhaps we should shift our conversation away from those who choose to put on blinders rather than face pain, and discuss how we can combat hate and indifference in our world."
Green party condemns former candidate
The Green Party condemned Schaefer's comments in a strongly worded statement released Friday.
"I am shocked by comments made by Ms. Schaefer and I condemn her terribly misguided and untrue statements," said Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada. "Ms. Schaefer does not represent the values of the Green Party nor of our membership."
The party said Schaefer was rejected as a potential Green candidate for the riding of Yellowhead before the 2015 federal election, and was also rejected as a potential candidate for the 2014 by-election in Fort McMurray-Athabasca.
"In light of Ms. Schaefer's untrue statements made in a recent online video, we will be initiating the process to terminate her membership with the Green Party of Canada at the earliest possible opportunity," said Emily McMillan, Green party executive director.
Even though there has been backlash, Schaefer is standing firm on her position made in the June 17 video, which now has well over 30,000 views.
She says for the last two years she has spent "a great deal of time researching this topic." What is being taught to Canadians about the Holocaust is full of "inaccuracies," she claims.
"When I started to look at the evidence, and I researched, and I researched and I researched, and the lies are coming apart, this house of cards is crumbling, and that is why there is this very fierce reaction against what I'm saying, because this lie, this public myth, has shaped our world."