Man jailed after Nazi salute in hospital

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A JUDGE has jailed a man for nine months after he made a Nazi salute in a hospital A and E department.

Zbignigw Lebek, 49, admitted a religiously aggravated public order offence after he made a gesture towards a Jewish teenager and sang out the names of the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps in front of him.

When police later went to Lebek’s home they found a Nazi flag draped over the banister with the swastika on it.

Judge Niclas Parry, sitting at Mold Crown Court yesterday, said it was as sickening an example of such behaviour as he ever had the misfortune to deal with.

He told Lebek, who followed the proceedings with the aid of a Polish interpreter:
“This is a case which exemplifies all that is decent in our society and all that is rotten in our society.”

On the one hand was the victim, the personification of decency, a devout teenager aged 18 who gave up his time voluntarily to encourage and enthuse young people.

That day he was taking a sick boy to Glan Clwyd Hospital at Bodelwyddan but met Lebek – a bully with hatred in his heart.

“For no reason other than sick pleasure you humiliated him and you demeaned him,” the judge told Lebek.

“You made reference to one of the most horrific passages in the world’s history, for fun.”

The incident was aggravated by the fact that it happened in a hospital.

“And the Nazi flag found only confirms, if confirmation was needed, the views you hold.”

Judge Parry told Lebek he took into account no violence or threats of violence were used and Lebek was an industrious man who had never been in custody before.

The judge ordered that the flag, seized by the police, should be destroyed.

Gareth Preston, prosecuting, said Lebek, of Ruabon Road, Wrexham, was at the hospital on August 31 for treatment to injuries after he had been assaulted.

An 18-year-old youth counsellor on summer camp in Caerwys, who had taken one of the children to hospital because of an asthma attack, was also there.

The young man, who as a counsellor promoted the Jewish faith, was wearing his kippah, his skull cap, as part of his religious observance.

Lebek saw him wearing it, turned towards him and gave him the Nazi salute. He started singing the words Auschwitz and Birkenau towards him before walking right up to him and doing the salute once more.

He continued with his singing and left the young man shocked and upset, because he knew that a million Jewish people had been murdered at those two camps.

The victim was upset and regarded Lebek's actions as disgusting.

Arrested and interviewed, Lebek said he did not remember a great deal because of the alcohol he had drunk and the injuries he had suffered in an assault.

He said he was shocked and ashamed at what he had done, denied holding anti-semitic views and said the flag had been left in his flat by a friend who had moved out three months earlier.

Gwyn Jones, defending, said Lebek understood how appalled the court and members of the public would be by his client’s behaviour, bearing in mind the sensitivity not only of the complainant but the location of the offence in a hospital’s accident and emergency department.

He said: “He can offer no explanation as to why he should act in such a way, when history has shown that his forefathers and the forefathers of the complainant suffered similar atrocities during a dark period of the history of the world,” said Mr Jones.

The alcohol combined with his injuries led to him act in an uncharacteristic way.

“He wishes to sincerely apologise and express his great remorse for his appalling behaviour.”

See full story in the Leader

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