Kurz condemns coalition partner’s ‘racist’ poem
Austrian Prime Minister Sebastien Kurz has condemned a racist poem published by his extremist coalition partners, the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ).
The poem “Die Stadtratte” (the city rat), published in a party pamphlet, compared migrants to rats.
It says migrants must adapt to Austrian customs or go elsewhere and warns against the “mixing” of culture and languages.
“Just as we live down here, so must other rats, who as guests or migrants, share with us the way of life or [they must] quickly hurry away!” reads the government party’s poem.
The FPÖ has been in coalition with Kurz’s right-leaning People’s Party (ÖVP) since 2017, making it among a few far-right parties to have taken office within the European Union.
Kurz said it was “disgusting, inhuman and deeply racist” and had no place in Austria. The 32-year-old head of government said the FPÖ branch responsible needed to clarify the poem.
It was reportedly written by FPÖ politician Christian Schilcher, who is also the deputy mayor of Braunau am Inn, Adolf Hitler’s birthplace.
He told the media he wanted to “point out specific issues” and did not intend to cause “insult or hurt”.
The poet apologised for using the “historically burdened” comparison between rats and humans. He said the poem aimed at describing changes “which myself and others quite rightly criticise” from a rat’s perspective.
The left-of-centre Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) said Vice Chancellor and FPÖ chairman Heinz-Christian Strache had posted on Facebook an article from a far-right website. The FPÖ boss denied the allegations.
Strache did post on the social media site that the “current incitement and campaign” against his party showed their competitors were “especially nervous” ahead of the European parliamentary elections in early May.
The World Jewish Congress has expressed its “disgust and outrage” after an effigy (pictured) of a stereotypical Jew was hanged and burned in a Polish town over Easter.
Robert Singer of the New York-based group said: “Jews are deeply disturbed by this ghastly revival of medieval anti-Semitism that led to unimaginable violence and suffering.”
Residents, including numerous children, attacked the effigy in the southeastern town of Pruchnik on Good Friday.
Poles also expressed their disgust, sharing photos online of the same ritual being carried out before the Second World War.
Pruchnik residents attack a stereotypical effigy of a Jew. Picture credit: YouTube