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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
Holocaust controversy in Austria
Fence at Auschwitz-Birkenau
Mr Gudenus doubts the use of gas chambers in Nazi camps
An Austrian politician has caused controversy by questioning the existence of the Nazi gas chambers.

John Gudenus of the far-right Freedom Party called into doubt the evidence for gas chambers when questioned about their existence on Austrian television.

"We should examine this," he said, "and not put up taboos. One should check this physically and scientifically."

He has been widely condemned and has since resigned from his party - though not from parliament.

Austria is currently celebrating the 60th anniversary of its declaration of independence from Nazi Germany in April 1945.

Speaking at an anniversary ceremony, Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said Holocaust deniers had no place in a democratic body.

President Heinz Fischer, in remarks broadcast by national television, said that "anybody who has any doubt about the gas chambers should go and visit Mauthausen or Auschwitz."

"There one can see the undeniable, unbearable evidence ... one should be ashamed," he added.





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