Barcelona bookstore owner accused of selling Nazi books goes on trial

Pedro Varela is accused of promoting anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and hate speech

Europa bookstore owner Pedro Varela in court in 2010
Europa bookstore owner Pedro Varela in court in 2010 / Pol Solà
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

May 14, 2024 03:47 PM

May 14, 2024 04:52 PM

The trial of Pedro Varela, owner of the Europa bookstore in Barcelona's Gracia neighborhood, for selling Nazi books began today in a Barcelona court.

Varela is also one of the leaders of the EO cultural association and Ediciones O, which distribute and sell Nazi material.  

The prosecution accuses Varela and five others of using the library, the association and the editorial to spread "supremacist" views between 2006 and 2016.  

The group is accused of spreading anti-Semitic propaganda, justifying and denying the Holocaust, and disseminating hate speech against the Jewish, Afro-descendant, Asian or Muslim communities. 

On the first day of the trial, Varela, who faces 12 years in prison for hate crimes and criminal association, said he was "a mere bookstore owner."

He has denounced the situation of "indefension" that bookstore owners face and has defined himself as a "convinced humanist". 

Varela said the books containing Nazi propaganda that police found in his home and shop were not for sale, but that he kept them because it is "uncivilized" to destroy literary works.

He also admitted that there was a sign in the library stating that some books could not be sold and that those who wanted to buy them had to sign a "responsibility" document. 

"Who am I to say what can and cannot be read?" he said, arguing that he wanted to "offer readers books they could not find anywhere else."

Catalan police Mossos d'Esquadra temporarily closed the bookstore in 2016, as well as its websites and social media profiles. 

The trial will last until May 29.