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Politician From Hitler’s Hometown Resigns Over Poem Comparing Migrants To Rats

The deputy mayor of the Austrian town where Adolf Hitler was born has resigned after writing a poem comparing migrants to rats, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Christian Schilcher, the deputy mayor of Braunau am Inn and a member of the far-right Freedom Party, published a piece entitled “The City Rat (Rodent with Sewerage Background)” in the Easter edition of his party’s newsletter. The title is a reference to the phrase “person with migrant background,” which is commonly used in German-speaking countries to refer to minorities, the AP explained.

The poem’s rat narrator tells migrants to integrate or “quickly hurry away,” adding, “if you mix two cultures…it’s as if you destroy them.”

Hitler frequently compared Jews and other “undesirable” populations to rats and other vermin. His book “Mein Kampf” included an analogy explaining that humans, like different types of mice, should stick to mate with their own kind, because doing otherwise would weaken the species’ purity and thus its strength.

Schilcher apologized for the “historically charged” comparison of humans and rats but said his poem had been intended to “provoke, but not to offend or hate.” But the leader of the Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache, confirmed Tuesday that Schilcher had resigned.

The Freedom Party, which helps prop up Austria’s governing coalition, was founded by former Nazis. The party has denounced anti-Semitism and its own Nazi past, but has had to expel several members for anti-Jewish remarks.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor for the Forward. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter, @aidenpink

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