Fresh Nazi songbook scandal hits Austrian far-right Freedom party | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 20.02.2018
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Fresh Nazi songbook scandal hits Austrian far-right Freedom party

A weekly magazine in Austria has said it found an anti-Semitic fraternity songbook similar to the one found in January. The fraternity's chairman is reportedly an aide of the country's far-right transport minister.

A second student fraternity with ties to Austria's Freedom Party (FPÖ) — a partner in the ruling coalition — has a songbook that includes lyrics calling for the murder of Jews, an Austrian magazine reported on Tuesday.

The report comes after a senior FPÖ candidate resigned in early February after the same magazine found his former student fraternity had used a similar anti-Semitic songbook.

Read more: Austria: Nazi songbook lands far-right FPÖ candidate in hot water

What is in the book?

Vienna-based weekly magazine Falter reported it had found a songbook used by the fraternity "Bruna Sudetia."

  • The book includes songs celebrating the holocaust — Nazi Germany's systemic murder of some 6 million Jews during the World War II — and lyrics calling for the fusion of Germany and Austria to form a new "German Empire."
  • One line reads: "In their midst comes the Jew Ben Gurion / Step on the gas, old Germanics, we can make it to seven million." David Ben-Gurion was Israel's first prime minister.
  • Another song reads: "Two Jews swam in the Nile River / a crocodile ate one of them, at the other it merely stared / at that it almost puked the first one up."
  • A song dating from 1972, when Germany was divided into West Germany and East Germany, includes the line, "Germany is still separated into three parts" followed by, "long live exalted German-Austria, and with it the entire German Empire."

Read more: Inside the secretive fraternities of Germany and Austria

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Right-wing rise in Austria: Threat for Europe?

Why this matters: Bruna Sudetia's chairman, the magazine said, is Herwig Götschober, an FPÖ member and an aide to Transport Minister Norbert Hofer, who narrowly lost the 2016 Austrian presidential election. A transport ministry spokesman told Falter that Götschober was not aware of the songbook and "categorically" rejected it.

Second scandal: The new find comes after Udo Landbauer, a leading FPÖ candidate in southern Austria, resigned following Falter's discovery in late January of a similar songbook used by the fraternity "Germania." The 31-year-old Landbauer had been Germania's vice president. Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz, whose conservative People's Party (ÖVP) is in a governing coalition with the FPÖ, has vowed to dissolve Germania.

Read more: Freedom Party of Austria - what you need to know

Udo Landbauer (Getty Images/AFP/D. Nagl)

Landbauer resigned in response to revelations his fraternity had used a violently anti-Semitic songbook

What happens next? The FPÖ, which was founded by former Nazi officials and has close ties to many ultra-nationalist student fraternities, has appointed a commission of historians to examine the party's past in response to the first scandal. FPÖ officials have however said that they cannot force fraternities to take part in the investigation due to their informal ties to the party.

Read more: Opinion: EU unimpressed by Austria's shift to the right

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