On the surface Monika Schaefer looks every part the archetypal hippy-dippy Green Party candidate.
However, if you dig a little deeper you’ll find that what exists at her core isn’t just folksy fiddle playin’ and patchouli but also some intense conspiratorial anti-Semitism. This vocal Holocaust denial has netted Schaefer an online following, an Albertan hate crime complaint and, just recently, a reported arrest in Germany for inciting hate.
Schaefer—who ran federally for the Green Party in 2006, 2008, and 2011 in Alberta’s Yellowhead riding—first gained infamy in 2016 by releasing a video called “Sorry Mom, I was wrong about the Holocaust.” In the video Schaefer, a violin teacher by trade, shreds the fiddle before going into a diatribe about how the Holocaust is the “most pernicious and persistent lie in all of history.” The Green Party quickly cut ties with Schaefer after her views came to light.
Schaefer’s arrest was first caught by B'nai Brith Canada, a Jewish Canadian activist group, who, on Thursday, put out a statement saying they have confirmed her arrest.
"German officials should be commended for taking action against Holocaust denial," said chief executive officer of B'nai Brith Canada, Michael Mostyn. "We will continue to work, even across borders, to ensure that racism and bigotry find no haven in Canada."
Schaefer was apparently in Germany visiting her brother, and fellow Holocaust denier, Alfred Schaefer so she could view the trial of Sylvia Stolz. Stolz is an infamous German Holocaust denier who has been previously jailed for openly denying the genocide—it is illegal to deny the Holocaust in Germany and carries a punishment of three months to five years in prison.
In an open letter, Alfred Schaefer, Monika’s brother and fellow Holocaust denier, also confirmed that his sister was arrested (VICE will not be linking to the open letter). In the letter Alfred writes that Schaefer was arrested in connection with her “Sorry Mom, I was wrong about the Holocaust” video—however, the exact details surrounding her arrest are still unclear. Schaefer said that Monika was arrested during a break in the Stolz trial and is attempting to start a letter writing campaign.
“What has angered the Jews is the fact that this one little video has undone hundreds of millions of dollars worth of their psychological warfare that most of us had become victims of,” reads a particularly egregious passage from the open letter.
“They thought that their ridiculous ‘Holocaust’ program was now firmly wired into our brains, and then, along comes Monika and blows it out of the water with a simple apology to her Mom. That really surprised them.”
Since the posting of the video, Schaefer was able to transform herself from an unknown political candidate to one of western Canada’s most recognizable Holocaust deniers and has thoroughly embraced her infamy. In the past two years she has collaborated with another well-known Albertan conspiracy theorist in University of Lethbridge professor Anthony Hall and, if that wasn’t enough, she also seemingly headlined a 2016 event put on by the Calgary chapter of the white supremacist group Blood and Honour.
Furthermore, this isn’t the first time that Schaefers have dealt with German hate laws. In late 2016, Alfred Schaefer, who lives in Germany, was investigated for making similar comments as his sister and faces similar charges. Alfred is a prolific YouTuber focussed on memes who has, in the past, called Jewish people “parasites,” and praised Hitler.
Both Schaefer’s online following and her brother have, unsurprising, taken to blaming the Jews for her arrest.
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