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Tourists arrested in Berlin for making Hitler salutes

August 10, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Confronted by a bizarre example of tourist misbehaviour, police in Berlin last weekend arrested two middle-aged Chinese tourists for making Hitler salutes while taking selfies outside the German Reichstag (parliament). Other instances of similar conduct have surfaced.

The Chinese men, aged 36 and 49, have been charged with using symbols from a banned organisation, the BBC reported. The pair have been released on bail of EUR 500 (AUD 743) each.

Germany’s strict laws on symbols, speech and gestures linked to Hitler and the Nazis carry heavy fines and prison sentences of up to three years. Even using a swastika on the cover of spy novel about World War II is banned.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) warns visitors to Germany: “The use or display of any Nazi symbols, salutes, songs or material (e.g. flags, memorabilia) is illegal.”

Adolf Hitler gives the salute at a 1928 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg

Austria has similar laws and a 25-year-old man who calls himself Harald Hitler was arrested there earlier this year for grooming himself with side-parted hair and a small moustache to resemble Hitler, and then having his photograph taken outside the house in Braunau am Inn in which Hitler was born.  He was charged with glorifying the Nazi era.

In Asia and China, where Hitler salutes and swastikas do not carry the same impact, Nazi-themed restaurants sometimes open. Indonesia and India have both seen examples, triggering international outrage.

Madame Tussauds in London removed its waxwork historical figure of Adolf Hitler last year to stop an alarming craze among visitors for taking selfies next to the uniformed wax dummy, while making Nazi salutes. The wax Fuhrer has now been confined to the basement, out of sight.

Just over a week ago, a man appeared in court in Scotland, accused of teaching his girlfriend’s pet pug dog to give a Nazi salute on command, and then posting the result online. He denies committing a hate crime.

The Hitler salute is a gesture that was used as a greeting in Nazi Germany. Performed by extending the right arm from the neck into the air with a straightened hand, it is now considered deeply offensive in many parts of the world.

World War II killed about 72.5 million people, mainly in Russia and Europe. As well as military deaths, huge numbers of civilians died and many were murdered, including about six million Jews.

Written by Peter Needham

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