Poland Jolted by Secret Forest Birthday Party for Hitler

Hidden cameras captured neo-Nazis wearing SS uniforms, raising a toast
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 26, 2018 6:28 AM CST
In this 1931 photo, Adolf Hitler is saluted as he leaves the Munich headquarters of the National Socialists.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – An undercover expose of Polish neo-Nazis celebrating Adolf Hitler in a nighttime forest ceremony has sparked widespread revulsion in Poland, a country where Hitler's regime murdered millions of people in concentration camps, ghettos, and in the bombing of cities. Leaders have condemned the extremists and launched an investigation that has already led to the detention of six people. There is widespread disbelief that young Poles, whose own ancestors were among the victims of World War II, could celebrate Hitler, who believed that Poles and other Slavs were "Untermenschen," or subhuman, reports the AP. The debate was sparked by a report broadcast Saturday by private news station TVN24 that showed members of a Polish neo-Nazi group called "Pride and Modernity" celebrating the 128th anniversary of Hitler's birth in a forest at night last spring.

Using hidden cameras, TVN24 captured footage of them preparing for the ceremony—which took place 33 miles from Auschwitz—by dressing in SS and Wehrmacht uniforms and nailing swastikas to trees. Mostly young men, they raised a toast to Hitler, whose photo hung also from a tree, praising him and making the stiff-armed "Sieg Heil" salute as a large wooden swastika burned. The ceremony even included a birthday cake decorated with a swastika. The denunciations from leaders came swiftly; the AP has their reactions here, including this one: "You have to be a complete idiot to dress up in an SS man's uniform and eat a waffle cake with a swastika in the forest. We will crack down on this!"

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