Europe

Austria Freedom Party condemned for Nazi-like cartoon

  • 20 August 2012
  • From the section Europe
Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPO)
Heinz-Christian Strache has denied accusations of anti-Semitism

A far-right Austrian politician has caused anger after posting a cartoon on Facebook, likened to anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda.

Heinz-Christian Strache posted a caricature of a banker with a hooked nose, wearing Star of David cufflinks.

Austrian Jewish leader Oskar Deutsch likened it to images used by the Nazis in the 1930s.

Mr Strache, who leads the Freedom Party, has denied he was being anti-Semitic.

The cartoon was posted on Saturday, accompanied by a comment from Mr Strache decrying "EU banking speculators" for taking tax money from Austrians.

Star of David

On Sunday Mr Strache posted a second version, labelled in English. The Star of David emblems had been removed from the banker's cufflinks and the shape of his nose had also been changed.

Both images show another figure labelled "The Government" pouring a drink for the banker, while a third, poorly clothed and thin figure labelled "The People", sits opposite the banker with a bone on his plate.

Oskar Deutsch (L) and Fouat Sanac (R) at a press conference in Vienna, Austria, on 27 July 2012
Jewish leader Oskar Deutsch (L) likened the cartoon to Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda

"It is not a coincidence that a caricature of Jews, similar to the ones in 'Der Stuermer' in the 1930s and 1940s, appeared on the Facebook page of Freedom Party leader Mr Strache," Mr Deutsch said, referring to a newspaper published by the Nazis.

Austrian politicians from both centre-left and conservative parties have condemned the cartoon.

The conservative People's Party called on the Freedom Party (FPO) to address "the incendiary and discriminating tones within the party itself".

A lawyer in Vienna has also said he will sue the FPO for holocaust denial, which is illegal in Austria.

Mr Strache and the FPO have frequently faced accusations of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

On Sunday Mr Strache responded to the backlash with a further comment on Facebook saying he did not tolerate anti-Semitism and insisted that he was highlighting his scorn for "the caste of greedy bankers".

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