Germany ‘repulsed’ by Hitler salutes at U.S. far-right event
Berlin — The German government expressed revulsion Wednesday at Nazi-style salutes such as those performed at a recent far-right event in Washington, but said it was confident the United States can tackle the issue.
Video published by The Atlantic showed participants at the event Saturday raising their arms in salute during a speech by Richard Spencer, head of the white-nationalist National Policy Institute.
“Speaking generally, whenever we see videos from anywhere showing people raising their hand to do Hitler salutes we are repulsed,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Wednesday after being asked about the clip .
“It goes against the principles and values of our politics,” he added.
Nazi Germany was responsible for genocide and war that resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people in the 1930s and 1940s. After the war, Germany made it a criminal offense to display Nazi imagery — including the salute, which was usually accompanied by the cry “Sieg Heil!” which translates as “hail victory.”
Seibert said the fact that the incident is being widely discussed in the United States was a good sign. “We have great faith in American civil society, media and politics to address such bad developments, such terrible events,” he said.
White-nationalist groups have existed in the United States for decades but drew increased attention last summer when activists showed up at the Republican National Convention to celebrate Donald Trump’s nomination as the party’s presidential candidate.
Spencer, who is credited with coining the term “alt-right,” was filmed Saturday saying “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” to cheers from the audience.
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