200 Neo-Nazis Celebrate Hitler’s Birthday in French Village, Sparks Outrage

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Photo Credit: RT/Reuters – Laszlo Balogh

200 neo-Nazis celebrating Hitler’s birthday in a French village triggered outrage in the country. The main opposition demanded an explanation from the French government as to how and why the party was allowed and why the police did not meddle with the affair.

More than 200 neo-Nazis who came from Germany, Italy and France gathered in the municipal hall of the village of Oltingue in Alsace which is situated in northeastern France Saturday evening, April 19, to celebrate the German dictator’s 125th birthday.

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889.

The said gathering of the neo-Nazis shocked local residents of Oltingue. They even questioned why the local authorities and the police were not able to stop the said event. The village mayor defended himself saying that he was tricked into agreeing to it. The police, on the other hand, commented that it was difficult to stop the neo-Nazis celebration as it already started when they got hold of the news, RT reports.

Mayor Andre Sherrer of the village stated that he believed the neo-Nazis rented out the room for a normal birthday party. He was as shocked as the locals upon learning that the people who rented out the room were neo-Nazis and that they were there to commemorate the leader of the Nazis.

In an interview with The Local, Sherrer said that only two people came to him to rent the room. All the proper papers and insurance were complied when they did so all were in order when everything was processed. It was too late when he realized he was tricked. He added that he was regretful with his decision.

It wasn’t until Oltingue residents heard the chanting and the music that came from the room that they realized in was a neo-Nazis gathering. They informed Sherrer who then promptly called the police.

But when the police came to see the event, they refrained from stopping it. They stated that doing so would have complicated things further especially legally. Nevertheless, a number of law enforcers were assigned in the area to ensure peace and order.

Mayor Sherrer, on his part, did not go into the venue. He feared that his presence could have caused violence. he also added that the police were already there. He couldn’t also tell the neo-Nazis to stop their party and get out. He would have been the one to be kicked out if he did so.

One police source confirmed to AFP that Mayor Sherrer wasn’t really aware that it was neo-Nazis who rented the place. However, the said Hitler anniversary had been advertised in the internet a few months in advance. The venue’s details were only given shortly prior to the celebration.

Nonetheless, the French government already had an inkling that there was an upcoming neo-Nazis event. German authorities had already warned the former about it. This was the argument the Union for a Popular Movement, France’s center-right party, brought up.

Deputy leader of UMP, Roger Karoutchi, angered over the event’s occurrence, wrote a complaint to Prime Minister Manuel Valls. The said letter questioned the PM as to how 200 neo-Nazis were allowed to hold the celebration of Hitler’s birthday in a municipal building as the Germans had already given the warning beforehand.

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE