Neo-Nazi party refers to gas chambers in ad

Germany’s largest neo-Nazi party is running into trouble with its recent campaign ads, which have been called racist and refer to Nazi gas chambers.

Berlin’s regional public radio station has refused to run a National Democratic Party of Germany commercial spot, saying it promotes racism. At the same time, Berlin officials have reacted with shock to an NPD campaign poster featuring the slogan “Step on the gas.”

The NPD is seeking the required minimum of 5 percent of the popular vote in the Sept. 18 Berlin state election to give it seats in the local parliament for the first time.

According to the Berlin Morgenpost daily newspaper, the legal department of the public radio station determined that the party’s ad, which blames so-called foreigners for all of Germany’s problems, is illegal. But the right-wing extremist party announced Aug. 13 that it would mount a legal challenge against the station’s decision.

Meanwhile, the party also launched a poster campaign in Berlin featuring its leader, Udo Voigt, dressed in black and revving a motorcycle with the words, “Gas geben,” or “Step on the gas.”

Some German officials reportedly were considering filing charges against the NPD because of the poster. Politicians from across the political spectrum condemned the ads. — jta