Poland: Trial begins of neo-Nazis who celebrated birthday of the mass murderer Adolf Hitler
The trial has begun in Poland of a group of neo-Nazis who gathered two years ago in a forest in the south of the country to celebrate what would have been the 128th birthday of the leader of the Nazi Third Reich, Adolf Hitler. The event was filmed by an undercover reporter for the TVN station, which broadcast footage of it.
Six people are now on trial for promoting Nazism in association with the event. The leader of the group called Hitler a "gentleman".
"There are many people who hide in the basement and do indecent things. I am fascinated by the environment of the Third Reich. I have the right to be. I hid it from people, but TVN has revealed my secret without my consent," the 37-year-old miner who supervises the "Pride and Modernity" (Duma i Nowoczesność - DN) association told the court.
DN's official aim is to promote "national and patriotic values, to spread human rights and freedoms and to support the development of democracy", as the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported. The head of the association, who is nicknamed "Sitas", wore an SS officer's uniform during the celebration held in May 2017 and announced that "Adolf Hitler was one of the best strategists, leaders and minds of all time," with a vision for uniting the nation on the basis of "pride, honor and allegiance".
"Hitler was a true gentleman, women were fascinated by him and children loved him. He was a very decent person. He never abused people in a vulgar way or committed any bad behavior. [The Nazi party] NSDAP beneath Hitler's guidance promoted family values, motherhood, fatherhood, respect and honor," Sitas declared while standing before a burning swastika and urging those present to toast "To Adolf Hitler and our homeland, our beloved Poland."
Those attending toasted Hitler and chanted the Nazi greeting "Sieg Heil!" ("Hail Victory!"). In court, Sitas did not admit his guilt, but alleged that his fascination with the Third Reich - which apparently contravenes his Polish patriotism - is his secret hobby that he had hid from the world before the "opposition television" crew broadcast footage of his "private celebration".
According to prosecutors, however, this was not the first such event DN had organized. They also found photos in Sitas' computer of him giving the Nazi salute at Auschwitz, the former Nazi extermination camp that is now a state memorial and museum.
The statute of limitations has already expired for that particular offense. The Nazi occupation of Poland cost the lives of six million people there, three million of them Jews who were Polish citizens.
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