He looked mighty familiar. Now a man identifying himself as “Harald Hitler” and sporting the clothing, slicked-down black hair and toothbrush mustache of der Führer has been arrested by Austrian police on suspicion of “glorifying” the Nazi dictator.
“Hitler” had been spotted several times over the last week in the border town of Braunau am Inn, Adolf Hitler’s birthplace, and posing for photos at the building where the German dictator was born.
Police said the 25-year-old man had recently moved to the town. He had also been seen on the streets of Graz and Vienna, according to police.
Officials said his intent was to honor the Nazi leader. “It is definitely not a carnival joke or an art project. The young man knows exactly what he is doing,” said a local police spokesman, the Telegraph reported.
“I have often seen this gentleman in Braunau and wonder if this means something,” the Oberösterreichische Nachrichten quoted a local resident as saying, reported German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
Glorifying the Nazi era or Hitler is a crime in Austria. Similar anti-Nazi laws exist in Germany, France and Italy. Media that ran photos of “Harald” blurred out the man’s face.
“Harald’s” actual name wasn’t provided by police.
Austrian officials reportedly plan to turn the building where Hitler was born in 1889 into a charity headquarters for the disabled, though some also want the structure demolished. The building has become a magnet for neo-Nazis. Hitler moved to Germany in 1913.
Hitler’s shadow lurks in the background whenever there’s a resurgence in Europe of the extreme right — and the emergence of Nazi symbols and sympathizers triggers crackdowns. On Sunday, Amazon yanked controversial self-published books that deny the Holocaust occurred off its websites in countries where such books are prohibited under anti-Nazi laws. The books vanished from the sites following an investigation by The Times of London that found dozens of such titles were being offered for sale in those countries. The books are still available on Amazon websites in other countries, including in Britain and the U.S.
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