Outrage in Germany after video shows revellers 'performing the Nazi salute while listening to song linked to Third Reich' at Oktoberfest event
This story is rather over-egged. "Erika" is simply a rather pretty love song for a woman. German soldiers sang it out of nostalgia for the times before they went into the "Heer" (army). It is a very good and innocent song and I would conclude that the salutes were for the song, nothing else. It is a very catchy song and the German "Oom-Pah-Pah" bass is mesmeric. American evangelical Christians often raise their hands high to indicate enthusiasm for the preaching and associated hymns
I am putting up a video of one performance. It has subtitles so if you understand German you can confirm what I say of the song. Note that the flag in the song is the flag of the present German Federal Republic. The Maltese cross also in the video is the "Balkenkreuz" dating from before Hitlers rise
German revellers have sparked fury after a video emerged showing them performing the Nazi salute while listening to a song linked to the Third Reich at an Oktoberfest event.
Video reportedly shows three men and a woman dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes repeatedly raising their arms in a Nazi salute while singing along to the song 'Erika' by composer Herms Niel.
The tune is a German marching band song published in 1938 and was associated with the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of the Third Reich.
One man is accused of making the Nazi salute, which is a crime in Germany, as many as 14 times in 16 seconds while the woman raises her arm seven times.
The video was filmed by a shocked onlooker at an Oktoberfest event in the small town of Zieschützen near Dresden, Germany, on Saturday night.
Police are now investigating the incident, with a spokesman telling local media: 'We are investigating the initial suspicion that unconstitutional symbols were used. State security is also participating in the investigation.'
One of the event's organisers, Matthias Braune, also distanced himself from the revellers' actions.
He told Bild: 'We clearly distance ourselves from these types of visitors. We just want to celebrate a normal Oktoberfest.' He added that the song 'Erika', which is not banned, will not be played at future events.
According to German law, performing a Nazi salute or using any Nazi-related symbols is considered 'unconstitutional', and offenders can be sent behind bars for up to three years.
One local commented on the video: 'It's not too late to reinstate the Nuremberg Trials with harsher penalties yet.'
Another said: 'This gives the same energy as southern Americans still rocking confederate flags because of heritage and nothing else.'
Someone else wrote: 'In fairness, a good number of Germans would be outraged too!'
Another responded: 'Herms Niel wrote Erika in 1938. Niel was definitely a Nazi through and through. The song Erika was incredibly popular in both the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS. Like the song or not, it is a song by a Nazi for Nazis.'