Dr Fredrick Töben is a sixty-four year old Australian scholar; he was arrested at Heathrow Airport on October 1 and is currently detained in Wandsworth Prison, London. His prison number is XF 9993. Is Dr Töben a terrorist? An international hit man? A drug dealer perhaps? Is he wanted for rape, burglary, criminal damage? A parking ticket? None of these things. Dr Töben was arrested on an international warrant issued by “democratic” Germany for an “offence” that is not a crime in China – that “repressive” country we all heard so much about during the recent Olympics. Nor is this “offence” a crime in Iran – the country the hawks in the Bush Administration want America to bomb. Nor is this “offence” a crime in Britain. Nor, incredibly, was this “offence” committed in Germany. Dr Töben’s crime is to hold a dissenting opinion on certain events that occurred in Europe more than sixty years ago, and to have the temerity to express it on his Australian website.
Dr Töben has been denounced to high heaven as a bigot and an anti-Semite. Check out his website:
and you might beg to differ. His videos can be found on the YouTube website; you will find some of them at
You may not agree with everything or anything he says, but these are the works of an honest scholar, not a foaming-at-the-mouth bigot, and even if they were, he has the right to publish and disseminate his findings. Or does he?
Dr Töben’s arrest is extraordinary. Leaving aside issues of free speech and freedom of inquiry, how can a German court have jurisdiction over an Australian citizen in transit at Heathrow Airport?
What next, the arrest of a Saudi national for drinking alcohol in London?
You don’t have to share Dr Töben’s views on World War Two, you don’t have to share his politics – whatever they are – you don’t even have to like him, but you should be alarmed at this development. Even Melanie Phillips attacked this arrest in her Daily Mail column, the last woman on Earth who could be branded a Töben sympathiser.
I have met Dr Töben once, in December 2006 when we attended the Holocaust conference in Tehran which was sponsored by the Iranian Government. On the way to the hotel from the airport I shared a taxi with Rabbi Ahron Cohen of Neturei Karta. Unlike Dr Töben, Rabbi Cohen does not hold dissenting views on World War Two, at least with regard to the Jewish death toll. Rabbi Cohen attended this conference to deliver a paper the same as Dr Töben and myself; when he returned home to Manchester he was ostracised, boycotted, pelted with eggs, and had his car vandalised. Rabbi Cohen’s “crime” was to meet people with whom he held fundamental differences of opinion, and try to convince them of the error of their ways using reason and rational argument. The same people who clamour for the gaoling of Dr Töben, assault and abuse an elderly Talmudic scholar. And they do so in the name of tolerance. If that doesn’t stick in your craw, nothing will.
October 6, 2008
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