"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,” Williamson said on camera. He went on to suggest that the number of people killed was far lower.
It later emerged that Williamson had a history of anti-Semitic remarks.
Since the Second Vatican Council, popes have routinely and regularly condemned anti-Semitism.
Most recently, in November 2018, Pope Francis said that “we are called to commit ourselves to ensure anti-Semitism is banned from the human community,” and said that it was important to remember the Holocaust “to teach us to avoid the same errors.”
“A Christian cannot be an anti-Semite, we share the same roots,” said Pope Francis in November, 2018.
In Germany, where the interview was recorded in 2008, Holocaust denial is a criminal offence. Williamson’s lawyers argued that he should not have been convicted as the interview only aired in Sweden, which does not have a Holocaust denial law.
(Story continues below)
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The Strasbourg-based ECHR concluded that Williamson knew that he was breaking German law at the time and did not attempt to limit the interview to Swedish airwaves alone.
The disgraced bishop was initially sentenced to a fine of 12,000 euros, reduced to 1,500 euros on appeal. Following the airing of the interview, he was swiftly removed from his position as the head of an SSPX seminary in Argentina.
Williamson holds the unique distinction of having been excommunicated by the Church twice.