“As thousands-strong anti-Islamization rallies make headlines in Germany following the Charlie Hebdo attack, one of the rallies’ organizers has resigned as leader of a right-wing group after a newspaper published a months-old selfie of him posing as Adolf Hitler.
“The photo shows Lutz Bachmann, leader of PEGIDA, which translates in English to “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West.” It appeared Wednesday on the cover of German tabloid BILD.
“Bachmann resigned as chairman of the group following the backlash to the Hitler photo, as well as another image Bachmann posted of a man in a Ku Klux Klan robe with the caption “Three K’s a day keeps the minorities away.”
“Bachmann said in Dresden: “I apologize to everybody who has felt attacked by my online postings. They were comments made without serious reflection, which I would no longer express today. I am sorry that I thereby damaged the interests of our movement, and draw the appropriate conclusion.”
“His spokeswoman Kathrin Oertel said on Facebook that the selfie was an act of satire. She also wrote that while every citizen has the right to engage in satire, insulting foreigners is not satirical.
““I took the photo at the hairdresser’s, for the publication of the audiobook of the satire ‘He’s Back’…You need to be able to joke about things now and then,” Bachmann told BILD.
““He’s Back,” or “Er ist wieder da” in German, is a 2012 best-selling satire based on Hitler waking up in modern-day Berlin with no knowledge of what happened following World War II. The audiobook was released long before September, as January 2013 news reports indicate 75,000 copies had already been sold.
In an exclusive interview with Newslo, Bachmann stated that “it was all one big misunderstanding.” He added that people have often compared him to Hitler, even when he was a boy, but interestingly, it wasn’t all because of his physical resemblance with the Fuhrer.
“All my life people kept telling me I was destined to do great things, that I was born to be someone who’d end up in the future history books. To be honest, I’ve never given it much thought, until someone accidentally referred to me as ‘Hitler’s lost son.’ It all started as a joke, but it really opened my eyes. It was then that I realized that I was indeed supposed to do something significant, which is why is started PEGIDA in the first place. I guess it’s true what they say about history – it does have a funny way of repeating itself.”