BERLIN – Seven suspected neo-Nazis went on trial Monday charged with incitement and disturbing the peace of the dead for allegedly burning a copy of Anne Frank's diary during a celebration last year.
The men, aged from 24 to 29, are accused of holding a ceremony on June 24 during which they praised the Nazis and denied the Holocaust.
The indictment accuses Lars Konrad, 25, of throwing the book into the fire in front of numerous spectators and the other six men standing nearby. The seven men are also accused of using neo-Nazi and Nazi language to ridicule Anne Frank and all the victims of Nazi concentration camps.
Denying the Holocaust, which is a crime in Germany, and incitement both carry a maximum sentence of five years.
Anne Frank wrote her famous diary while she and her German-Jewish family hid in an Amsterdam attic for 25 months.
They eventually were betrayed to the Nazis, and Anne died at age 15 of typhus at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, weeks before the British army liberated the camp.
Only her father survived the war, returning to collect Anne's notes and to publish them. "The Diary of Anne Frank" became the first popular book on the Holocaust.
Mainstream politicians and Jewish leaders in Germany are concerned that far-right groups, including violent neo-Nazis, are growing in strength in eastern Germany. Far-right parties sit in three eastern state parliaments.