Nazi Salutes by football fans in front of Austrian Concentration camp13 January 2006

A scandal rocked Adolf Hitler's birthplace Braunau this week with a picture of local football fans making Nazi salutes during a visit to a nearby concentration camp memorial site.

Pictures had until recently been on the homepage of the fan club Braunau Bulldogs, in the small town not far from the German border. It showed club members stretching their right arms in the Hitler salute.

The pictures had been taken at the memorial site of the notorious Nazi concentration camp at Mauthausen, where more than 100,000 people were murdered up till the camp's liberation by the U.S. Army in 1945. The Upper Austria Province Office for Protection of the Constitution said a legal complaint was being prepared. However, suspects must be questioned before the complaint was formalized.

The deputy chairman of the fan club declined comment when asked by the Austria Press Agency. Braunau's Social Democrat Mayor Gerhard Skiba said he was “shocked” by the photo, which was “despicable”. He would press for consequences as far as it was in his power. President of the fourth division club FC Braunau, Gerhard Holzinger, said the fans had done the club a disservice. He had not known about the picture, and disassociated himself from it completely. There was no Nazi ideology in his club, he stressed.

Upper Austria Communist Party Secretary Leo Furtlehner said: “The town of Braunau has done much in past years to process its past and improve its reputation.” But if the local football club accepted neo-Nazis as supporters, all the work would have been for nothing.