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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 16:11 GMT
Hitler town in 'Nazi salute' row
Football fans in Nazi-style salute (pic: OONachrichten)
Fans at the former Mauthausen camp (pic: OONachrichten)
The Austrian birthplace of Adolf Hitler is fighting to contain an outcry over pictures that apparently show local football fans making a Nazi salute.

One of the pictures shows teenage fans of Braunau football team offering a straight-armed, open-handed salute at a notorious former concentration camp.

Braunau's mayor said the fan club had not denied publishing the photos on its website - and nor had it apologised.

Nazi activity of any kind can lead to a jail term under Austrian law.

Braunau, near Austria's border with Germany, has long held a fascination for fascists and far-right extremists eager to see the 1889 birthplace of Adolf Hitler.

'Brainless youths'

Austrian authorities say they are investigating the photos, which have since been removed from the fan club's website.

Football fans in Nazi-style salute (pic: OONachrichten)
The pictures have provoked outrage (pic: OONachrichten)

One of the pictures appears to show fans offering the Nazi salute at a pizza restaurant.

Another shows a group of supporters, most of whom appear to be teenagers, making the gesture at the site of the Mauthausen death camp, 100km (60 miles) from Braunau.

Some 100,000 Jews and other minorities were killed at Mauthausen concentration camp, the largest one operated in Nazi-era Austria.

Braunau's mayor, Gerhard Skiba, is quoted in the Austrian media as saying he had met representatives of the fan club, who did not deny the pictures had appeared on their website.

But they had not apologised, he said, and "the conversation did not bring us any closer to an explanation".

Mayor Skiba blamed "brainless youths" for the scandal.

"Given that we're known as being the birthplace of Adolf Hitler, we don't have it easy anyway," Mayor Skiba said.




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