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Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 05:43 GMT 06:43 UK
Row over spoof Hitler euro advert
Rik Mayall
British Comedian Rik Mayall spoofs Hitler in the advert
A cinema advertisement featuring comedian Rik Mayall as a spoof Adolf Hitler who supports the single currency has been branded tasteless by leading British Jews.

They say the advert, due to be screened across Britain, is an insult to the memories of the Holocaust victims.

Pro-euro campaigners are also calling for the "offensive" advert to be withdrawn.

It is a harmless comedy sketch for three seconds in a 90 second film

No campaign director George Eustice
But the No campaign argues the celebrity advert is a bit of "harmless fun" in the bid to win people over to its arguments.

In the advert, Rik Mayall is seen dressed as Hitler saying: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein euro" - one people, one realm, one euro - in a reference to the Nazi slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer".

The comedian then reappears saying in English: "Euro? Oh yes please."

'Desperate' campaign

The Britain in Europe group denounced the advertisement as a "tasteless caricature."

Its views are shared by the chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, Labour peer Lord Janner.

He described the portrayal as "crass, distasteful and totally inappropriate".

Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof says no to euro
"Those responsible should withdraw this offensive advert immediately," said Lord Janner.

Former European Commission vice-president and Tory cabinet minister, Lord Brittan of Spennithorne, also criticised the advert.

"This tasteless ad shows the underlying nastiness behind much of the No campaign as well as an element of desperation," he said.

Liberal Democrat chairman Mark Oaten said: "If this is the level of the debate we can expect from the No campaign, then they would have been better off with Iain Duncan Smith fronting it, rather than Rik Mayall playing Adolf Hitler."

But the No campaign director George Eustice denied the advert was offensive.

"It is a harmless comedy sketch for three seconds in a 90 second film," he said.

Rock star Bob Geldof, comedians Vic Reeves, Harry Enfield and John Sessions, chef Gordon Ramsay, as well as Labour MPs Diane Abbott and Kate Hoey are among those who appear in the video campaign.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
No campaign coordinator, George Eustace
"I don't think there's anything here to take offence at"
Comedian and pro euro campaign Eddie Izzard
"If Hitler would have liked the euro, then why don't Le Pen and Haider"

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02 Jul 02 | Politics
02 Jul 02 | Politics
02 Jul 02 | Politics
27 Jun 02 | Entertainment
02 Jul 02 | Entertainment
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