Ultra-traditionalist Catholic bishop Richard Williamson was fined 6,500 euros Monday by a German court for publicly denying the Holocaust in 2009, a court spokesman said. British-born Williamson, 71, who belongs to a controversial Catholic splinter group, the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), was appealing a 2010 fine of 10,000 euros for telling Swedish TV that no more than 300,000 Jews perished in the Holocaust.
He also denied in the interview the existence of gas chambers at Nazi concentration camps. Holocaust denial is a hate crime in Germany. Consensus among historians is that the Nazis killed six million Jews in the Holocaust.
Williamson’s statements became an embarrassment for the Vatican which readmitted him after a 22-year excommunication only days following the interview. In his 2010 book, Light of the World, Pope Benedict XVI said he would not have lifted the ban on Williamson if he had known of his far-right views, adding that the Vatican’s poor communications in the matter was a “total meltdown.”
German prosecutors demanded increasing the fine to 12,000 euros during the appeals process.