Holocaust denying bishop to examine 'historical evidence': report

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 08 2009 12:45 AM | Updated as of Feb 08 2009 08:45 AM

BERLIN - A bishop under fire for denying the Holocaust wants to examine the historical evidence before any possible renunciation of his belief that not a single Jew died in Nazi gas chambers, a report said.

"If I find proof I would rectify (earlier statements)... But all that will take time," Bishop Richard Williamson was quoted as saying by the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel.

The British-born bishop denied the existence of the gas chambers in an interview with Swedish television two days the pope lifted his excommunciation last month.

"I believe there were no gas chambers... I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers," Williamson said.

"There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies!"

Meanwhile, the bishop of Innsbruck in western Austria, Manfred Scheuer, said that the Vatican should learn lessons from the episode, which provoked a storm of criticism.

"The Pope's explanations (this week) were more than necessary and I welcome them. But we must now analyse the mistakes that have been made," Austria's Tiroler Zeitung daily on Saturday quoted him as saying.

"On questions as important as the lifting of an excommunication, the episcopal conferences should be consulted," he said, referring to official assemblies of bishops in different regions.

On Wednesday the Vatican said the 67-year-old bishop should "unequivocally" distance himself from his statements.

It also said that Williamson's remarks denying that the Nazis used gas chambers to eliminate millions of European Jews in World War II were not known to Pope Benedict XIV when he decided to lift the excommunication of four renegade bishops, including Williamson, last month.