German radio station fires Holocaust-denying host

Local Jewish community commends decision after station initially defended radio host.

Radio host Ken Jebsen 311 (photo credit: Radio Fritz)
Radio host Ken Jebsen 311
(photo credit: Radio Fritz)
BERLIN – Ken Jebsen, a radio host who claimed the Holocaust was manufactured, was sacked by publicly funded radio station RBB on Wednesday.
Jebsen sent an e-mail to a listener in early November saying, “I know who invented the Holocaust as PR.” He also appeared to blame European Jewry for the Holocaust and stoked wild anti-American conspiracy theories.
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As the scandal continued to mushroom, station head Claudia Nothelle went to great lengths to play down Jebsen’s denial of the Shoah and to deny allegations that his remarks were infected with anti-Semitism.
In her statement on Wednesday, Nothelle insisted that “Jebsen is not an anti-Semite or a denier of the Holocaust.” She said the decision to dismiss him came because “many of his contributions did not meet the journalistic standards of RBB.” She added that Jebsen did not adhere to an agreement following the publication of his email. Nothelle did not provide details.
After his dismissal on Wednesday, Jebsen issued a YouTube video saying that “because of ongoing negotiations there cannot be at this time another statement.”
The German capital’s Jewish community issued a statement on Thursday: “With satisfaction, the Jewish community of Berlin accepted RBB’s decision to separate itself from moderator Ken Jebsen.
In addition, we respect that Jebsen’s supervisor assumed responsibility for the editorial failures.
This was not an easy decision for RBB. But after the already known statements in an e-mail to a listener, he [Jebsen] appears to have violated, once again, a binding agreement regarding his texts.”
The head of the 10,500-member Jewish community, Lala Süsskind, said “We find it to be commendable how the senior management of RBB, in the end, acted.”
The Jewish community’s statement praised the decision as in the spirit of the station’s campaign against right-wing radicalism and anti-Semitism.
RBB is the parent company of Fritz Radio, a youth music program, where Jebsen hosted a Sunday talk and music show (KenFM) for 10 years.
RBB also dismissed Stefan Warbeck, the Fritz program director. Warbeck will take over a new assignment at RBB.
Jebsen said, “happy birthday terror lies,” in connection with the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. He termed it a “warm demolition” and appeared to be happy about the destruction of the twin towers, in which almost 3,000 people were murdered by Islamic terrorists.
Jebsen said in a program on October 16 the US is seeking a pretext to attack Iran and is manipulative in its approach to the Islamic Republic. Jebsen praised the “PR talent” of al-Qaida, slammed Israel and embraced a hard-core pro-Palestinian course in his statements.
Jebsen said during his November 12 program that his language in the e-mail was “not Holocaust denial,” and that he “was only addressing the issue of propaganda and its mechanisms.”
German-Jewish journalist Henryk M. Broder first drew attention to Jebsen’s diatribes against Jews and America on his website.
Broder launched a journalistic offensive against Jebsen and RBB for their refusal to tackle hatred of Israel, anti-Americanism and modern anti-Semitism.
Jebsen’s mix of right-wing and left-wing anti- Semitic views is a common feature of a cross-over form of modern anti-Semitism in Germany.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center had called for Jebsen’s program to be defunded and said the use of the word “invent” in connection with the Holocaust is a classic expression of denying the Shoah.