Americans, be happy you have Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, those endless sources of media entertainment and amusement. In Austria, the nearest equivalent is one Barbara Rosenkranz (remember her? The Über-mother who ran for Austrian President last year?), one of the female faces of the Freedom Party and basic Nazi apologist. And she’s
scary competent (which is scary.)
Her latest news moment involves her involvement in an invitation to a (regional government sponsored) summer solstice celebration, which here involves bonfires on the mountain ranges. As I wrote earlier, there is a right-wing extremist element which also goes in for the old heathen practices, and the Nazis were into the mountain bonfires in a big way (when Hitler visited Innsbruck in 1938, fires were lit on the Northern Range to create the message Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer which was 1.5 kilometers long, with more fires forming swastikas around it. )
Anyway, the investigative journalists over at Neuwal.com* found something familiar about the illustration on the invitation — and traced it back to a NSDAP songbook from 1942. This image from their site shows the illustration as used in the invite and it’s original appearance in the songbook.
Frau Rosenkranz responded that the image had been used for the annual invitation “for around 20 years” and that she had had no idea about the source of the illustration. Now, when this kind of thing happens to any other group, one can usually chalk it up to lack of thorough checking, or ignorance. But this is the Freedom Party. It would be similar to if a southern-state Republican used an image from a Klan poster. “They should know better” doesn’t apply here — they know very well what they are doing. Just last week an FP councilman in Carinthia was discovered to have a Blut und Ehre (“blood and honor”) tattoo on his arm — and claims that he didn’t know what it meant when he got it done. Under pressure, he resigned this week.
*At the link (in German), scroll down for illustrations of 3rd Reich holiday ornaments.