Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson loses appeal

By Jessica Elgot, July 11, 2011
Bishop Richard Williamson

Bishop Richard Williamson

A Holocaust-denying British bishop who said "evidence was strongly against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed" has lost his appeal after being convicted of Holocaust denial.

A court in Regensburg, Germany reduced Bishop Richard Williamson's fine from £8,800 to £5,700, but upheld his conviction. In 2008, the bishop, who is a member of the ultraconservative Society of St Pius X, gave an interview to Swedish TV, and said: "I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against, is hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler".

The interview was later broadcast in Germany, where Holocaust denial is illegal.

Judge Birgit Eisvogel said the fine had been reduced because of Bishop Williamson's financial circumstances. The bishop did not attend the ruling.

The Catholic Herald has also reported that the bishop believes the antisemitic forgery, t he Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is authentic. He was also quoted by the paper to have once written: "In accordance with their false messianic vocation of Jewish world-domination, the Jews are preparing the Anti-Christ's throne in Jerusalem."

Bishop Williamson was excommunicated in 1988, a move later lifted by Pope Benedict XVI. But the Pope has always insisted that he was never told that Bishop Williamson, who now lives in Wimbledon, south London, had denied the Holocaust.

He sacked Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Ecclesia Dei commission, who recommended the reversal, and abolished the commission entirely. He also sacked Cardinal Castrillon's deputy, Italian Monsignor Camille Perl.

Last updated: 9:31am, July 12 2011