Golden Dawn Plays Nazi Anthem at Food Handout

Greek version of the Nazi German Horst-Wessel-Lied (Horst Wessel Song) played on loudspeakers outside a Golden Dawn office where members handed out bags of food and clothing.

Golden Dawn's leader Nikos Michaloliakos gestures to supporters before a distributions of goods to "Greeks only", 24 July 2013 (Reuters)

Golden Dawn’s leader Nikos Michaloliakos gestures to supporters before a distributions of goods to “Greeks only”, 24 July 2013 (Reuters)

Golden Dawn played a Nazi anthem during a political rally-cum-charity event on Wednesday that authorities had attempted to ban.

A Greek version of the German Horst-Wessel-Lied (Horst Wessel Song) – known as Orthro to lavaro (The flag on high) in Greek – was played on loudspeakers outside the central Athens offices of the party, where members handed out bags of food and clothing.

video of the event, including the sound of the song, was posted on the party’s website.

The tune of the Horst Wessel Song is audible in this Golden Dawn propaganda video from Wednesday’s food handout.

The song, which was the official anthem of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party from 1930 to 1945 and co-anthem of the Nazi state from 1933 to 1945, remains banned in Germany, along with Nazi symbols. Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Greece during the second world war, committing bloody atrocities against the population.

Party members distributed the food parcels after checking recipients’ identity cards to insure that non-Greeks were excluded.

City authorities and the Greek police had banned effectively Golden Dawn on Wednesday from using a nearby square to stage the event by banning all outdoor gatherings in the wider area.

Police set up a large cordon to prevent possible protests against the decision.

But large crowds of supporters gathered outside the party building chanting, “Foreigners out of Greece.”

“The crime we committed was that we wanted to hand out food to Greeks only. If we’d handed it out to Pakistanis and blacks, there would have been no problem,” party leader Nikos Michaloliakos told supporters.

Wednesday’s event was held on the 39th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece, following the collapse of a 1967-74 military dictatorship.

“We didn’t choose this day by coincidence,” Michaloliakos said. “They say they are celebrating the return of democracy. But they are really celebrating state thievery, scandals, and treason.”

The government strongly condemned the choice of date, with Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias early Wednesday describing Golden Dawn as a “pathetic copy of Nazi totalitarianism.” Officials from the government declined to make any further comment.

Panos Skourletis, a spokesman for Syriza, the main left-wing opposition, called Michaloliakos’ comments and the playing of the Nazi anthem a “provocation to democracy”.

“They are trying to align problems that people face in Greek society with their own message of hatred and Nazism,” Skourletis told the AP. “Golden Dawn will only be weakened when the causes of (Greece’s) deep humanitarian crisis are addressed and stopped.”

Golden Dawn’s policy of offering food for publicity was condemned by Athens Mayor Yiorgos Kaminis.

“We have a church that distributes thousands of meals a day. Our municipality feeds 9,000 a day and provides additional goods and food etc to 3,000 needy families. All this is done discreetly, without any self-serving agendas and vile racist propaganda.”

Propaganda video containing the original Horst Wessel Song, the anthem of the German Nazi party and Nazi state, with English subtitles. WARNING: viewers may find this video offensive

– EnetEnglish, AP