Berlusconi: Germans deny camps' existed

2014-04-26 22:06
Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. (Tiziana Fabi, AFP)

Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. (Tiziana Fabi, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Rome - Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, about to begin a sentence for tax fraud, provoked fresh outrage from his political opponents on Saturday by suggesting that Germany did not acknowledge the existence of World War II concentration camps.

Berlusconi provoked the latest in a long line of controversies when he took another swipe at his old foe Martin Schulz, the German president of the European parliament and the centre-left candidate to lead the EU Commission.

Referring to the storm created in 2003 when he jokingly offered Schulz a film part as a concentration camp "kapo", an inmate appointed as overseer, Berlusconi told a party meeting that the comments were made in a spirit of ironical humour.

Comments ‘despicable’

"I said, nicely, that I'd get him a job given that a film director friend of mine was planning to make a film on the German concentration camps," he said.

He then added: "According to the Germans, there never were concentration camps."

The Party of European Socialists (PES), the umbrella party that groups European centre-left parties, described the comments as "despicable" and called on the centre-right European People's Party, to which Berlusconi's Forza Italia is affiliated, to condemn them.

"These comments by Berlusconi are an insult to the entire German people and not only an insult to Martin Schulz," said PES President Sergei Stanishev in a statement.

Germany, which has gone to great lengths since World War Two to acknowledge and confront the atrocities committed during its Nazi past, is unlikely to be amused. But whether the comments will do Berlusconi any harm among the hardcore supporters who remain faithful to him at home is another matter.

Casual anti-German rhetoric has risen sharply since the outbreak of the eurozone crisis. Austerity measures imposed to shore up public finances have been blamed by many political forces on demands by Berlin and Brussels.

‘I was thinking of complimenting him’

Berlusconi said his centre-right Forza Italia would pick up around 20% support in upcoming elections to the European parliament at the end of May.

That would be roughly in line with recent opinion polls which put it behind Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

Explaining the original comments about Schulz, Berlusconi said that he had been thinking of a character in Hogan's Heroes, a 1960s comedy about a prisoner of war camp in which a quick-witted American runs rings around his stupid German guard, Sergeant Schultz.

"I was thinking of paying him a compliment. A fundamental mistake," he said.

Berlusconi is expected soon to begin serving a community service order imposed after his conviction for tax fraud last year. The order limits his movements but does not restrict his political activity.
Read more on:    silvio berlusconi  |  italy  |  germany
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

3 must-do trail runs

If you love trail running, you have to put these on your bucket list.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
Watch: Insane road bike skills!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

One day only! – 40% off Appliances!

Get 40% off 100’s of appliances at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may prefer to be in charge because then you can call the shots. You are not as flexible as you like to make out to be and you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.