The Evangelist Church has already admitted that it was “a terrible mistake” to bury a well-known neo-Nazi in the grave that previously belonged to a Jew.
Henry Hafenmayer was buried last Friday in the Südwestkirchhof Stahnsdorf cemetery.
The neo-nazi, and Holocaust denier, gained notoriety before he died after being sentenced to prison terms.
Months before he died, the 48-year-old German sent anti-Semitic letters to various public institutions in which he claimed that the Holocaust was a “lie”.
According to the The Guardian, the neo-Nazi was buried in the place where he was previously buried Max Friedlander, a Prussian-born Jewish musician and scholar who died in 1934.
As the British newspaper reports, Friedländer’s tombstone was covered with a black cloth and with signs bearing Hafenmayer’s name and the biblical verse “and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).
After what happened, the church that manages the cemetery has already explained that Max Friedländer’s grave site had been claimed for new burials, as is normal procedure in cases where the lease is not renewed after the “rest period”.
The church explained to the The Guardian that the ashes of the Jewish scholar had already been removed, but his tombstone was left in place because it was considered a monument.
He added that Hafenmayer’s attorney’s initial request called for a more central grave. This one request will have been denied because the management fears that the cemetery could become a meeting place for extremist groups.
Thus, the lawyer will have advanced the request to occupy Friedländer’s unoccupied grave. The church will have accepted the proposal based on the principle that all humans “have the right to a final resting place”.
However, the responsible bishop has already stated that this authorization was “a terrible mistake” and that the institution is “to find out if it will be possible to reverse the process”.
In turn, Samuel Salzborn, a member of the Berlin federal cabinet that fights anti-Semitism, filed a complaint with the Justice Department on Tuesday.
Die Beisetzung eines Neonazis im Grab eines jüdischen Musikwissenschaftlers sorgt für Empörung. Der Berliner Antisemitismmusbeauftragte @ProfSalzborn hat nun Strafanzeige wegen des Verdachts der Störung der Totenruhe erstattet. https://t.co/dCax4IOeTF
— Jüdische Allgemeine (@JuedischeOnline) October 12, 2021
Salzborn considers that “it is obvious that right-wing extremists deliberately chose a Jewish grave for disturb the eternal peace through the Holocaust denier.”