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Austrian Mayor resigns over call for journalists to be hanged like Jews
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
07/12/2013
Mayor of the city of Gföhl is furious about asylum seekers, blames journalists for reporting on them.
 
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 “injure people.”

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.”

Simlinger acknowledged in his resignation letter that he was livid during the council meeting about a plan to build a residence for asylum seekers.

While he did not specifically address his alleged remarks about Jews and journalists, he said he made a statement that “contradicts my personal views.”

He apologized and said he plans to end his term at the end of this year.

Simlinger is a member of the Austrian People’s Party.

The 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 Duden.

However, two city council representatives said it is inexcusable that the mayor voiced “xenophobia and anti-Semitism.”

The Mauthausen 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.
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