German radio host: ‘Holocaust invented as PR’

Program rejects anti-Semitism charge, reinstates DJ; in separate comment, Ken Jebsen says 9/11 was a "warm demolition."

November 13, 2011 02:54
3 minute read.
Radio host Ken Jebsen

Radio host Ken Jebsen 311. (photo credit: Radio Fritz)


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BERLIN – A popular German radio host is slated to return to his program on Sunday, after being temporarily pulled from his post for writing an email denying the Holocaust and spreading conspiracy theories against the US to a listener earlier this month.

Ken Jebsen, who is a host at the publicly funded “Jugendwelle” music program aired by Radio Fritz, wrote, “I know who invented the Holocaust as PR.”

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In his crude e-mail, Jebsen said Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels implemented the public relations plan of the Holocaust and the Americans provided fuel for the entire Nazi bombing campaign, citing Standard Oil and John D. Rockefeller, the American businessman. The rambling e-mail is filled with grammatical and spelling errors.

In a separate comment, which was voiced before the published e-mail, Jebsen termed the destruction of the twin towers on 9/11 a “warm demolition.”

The listener sent Jebsen’s email to journalist Henryk M. Broder who published Jebsen’s convoluted diatribes against Jews and the United States on his website.

Broder, who writes for the daily Die Welt paper and has testified as an expert on modern expressions of Jew-hatred in a Bundestag hearing, told Bild newspaper on Friday, “This is clear anti-Semitism.”

After the scandal surfaced in early November, Jebsen was removed from the program but will now return to his large youth audience.

Jerusalem Post attempts to reach the 45-year-old Jebsen were not successful.

Jebsen denied that his email was anti-Semitic, and he wrote on Fritz’s website that “my biography and my background obligate me to advocate for international understanding, peace and democracy.”

Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), Fritz radio’s parent company, defended Jebsen’s continued employment.

“The accusations against the moderator that he spreads anti-Semitic ideas and denies the Holocaust are unfounded,” wrote the RBB management on Fritz’s website.

In a phone conversation with the Post on Saturday, Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal center’s director for international relations, said Jebsen’s statements are “unadulterated anti-Semitism. The program has to be defunded.”

Speaking from Paris, Samuels said Jebsen and the radio’s management has “to understand their legal responsibility,” adding that Jebsen is “not competent to run a youth program.”

He called on the authorities to “take legal steps against” the Holocaust revisionism of Jebsen.

Germany has a hate-crimes law barring incitement against Jews and Holocaust denial. It is unclear at this stage if a criminal complaint has been filed against Jebsen or RBB.

Samuels, a specialist on contemporary anti-Semitism from the International Human Rights Group, said the radio station’s credibility as well as Germany’s reputation are at stake because of Jebsen, whose comments “amount to incitement, hate and racism.”

The Fritz radio station studio is located in Potsdam, a city just outside of Berlin, in the state of Brandenburg.

Lala Süsskind, the president of the Berlin Jewish community, issued a statement to the Post on Saturday, welcoming RBB’s announcement that Jebsen would no longer issue political statements.

Süsskind, who heads Germany’s largest regional Jewish community with a membership of over 10,000, said it is “strange” that a music moderator is spreading political commentary.

In a sign that Berlin’s Jewish community is upset with RBB’s decision to retain Jebsen as an employee, Süsskind said in other countries highprofile people would have lost their jobs. She cited the case of John Galliano, the former top fashion designer for Christian Dior, who was fired after an anti-Semitic rant earlier this year.

Galliano praised Hitler at a Paris cafe.

In a phone interview with the Post on Saturday, Volker Schreck, a spokesman for RBB, said the station “regrets the formulation” of Jebsen, but does not believe he is anti-Semitic. Schreck said the station would not continue his program if his remarks were grounded in anti-Semitism.

When asked if RBB chose to prioritize its listener numbers over combating hatred of Jews, Schreck said “it would be cynical to speak of quotas” of listeners as the reason to retain Jebsen.

Selin Güngör, an employee at Fritz, said on Saturday that Jebsen will host his regularly scheduled 2 p.m. program on Sunday.

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