BERLIN – The resignation of conservative mayor Karl Simlinger on Friday ended an
alleged racism and anti-Semitism scandal over crude statements targeting asylum
seekers, Jews and journalists.
Simlinger, who has served as the mayor of
the small town of Gföhl since 1997, said the last thing he wanted to do was to
The mayor allegedly said during a city council meeting
on Tuesday, “I don’t give a shit about asylum seekers, but the journalists are
to be blamed. They should be hanged; they are like the Jews.”
acknowledged in his resignation letter that he was livid during the council
meeting about a plan to build a residence for asylum seekers.
did not specifically address his alleged remarks about Jews and journalists, he
said he made a statement that “contradicts my personal views.”
apologized and said he plans to end his term at the end of this
Simlinger is a member of the Austrian People’s Party.
Austrian news outlet Heute.at reported on Wednesday that Simlinger denied his
statements about hanging Jews and journalists. He contends that he said,
“Journalists only quote from Duden.”
It is unclear what he meant by his
reference to the German language dictionary and grammar book
However, two city council representatives said it is inexcusable
that the mayor voiced “xenophobia and anti-Semitism.”
Komitees, an organization named after the Mauthausen concentration camp, which
provides pedagogical programs to combat anti-Semitism and racism, filed a
criminal complaint against Simlinger for inciting hatred.