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Austrian minister's aide in focus of new anti-Semitism allegations

Europe
20.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Vienna (dpa) - Allegations of anti-Semitic tendencies in Austria‘s governing Freedom Party (FPOe) gained momentum on Tuesday when a report linked a ministerial aide to yet another fraternity songbook that promotes anti-Jewish stereotypes.

The songbook of the Vienna far-right fraternity Bruna Sudetia not only includes problematic lyrics that triggered a similar scandal last month, but also others that portray Jews as disgusting, according to the Vienna weekly newspaper Der Falter.

Herwig Goetschober, the social media officer for Transport Minister Norbert Hofer, is chairman of this fraternity.

A sources in the FPOe minister‘s cabinet told Austrian Press Agency APA that Goetschober was not aware of the songbook‘s existence.

The report comes less than a week after the FPOe responded to accusations of lingering Nazi ideology, by setting up a panel of historians that will probe its past and its ties to far-right fraternities.

In January, it was revealed that the FPOe candidate in a regional election belonged to a fraternity that used a songbook with anti-Semitic lyrics.

Left-wing and liberal opposition parties demanded Goetschober‘s resignation on Tuesday and asked Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the centre-right People‘s Party (OeVP) to take action.

"It is high time that Chancellor Kurz makes a clear statement about fraternity members and removes them from public posts," said Green politician David Ellensohn.

Hofer, FPOe chief and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, as well as several ministerial aides are members of such fraternities, some of which sympathize with pan-Germanic nationalism. A significant share of FPOe parliamentarians also belong to such organizations, which offer networking and career opportunities to their life-long members.

 

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