Extremist anti-Jewish group seeks legitimacy in Peru

The leader of a fledgling neo-Nazi group in Peru has reportedly urged his country to rid itself of its Jewish population.

Martín Quispe Mayta, the founder of the Andean Peru National Socialism movement, has publicly denied the truth of the Holocaust, expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and appears to subscribe to any number of antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Mr Mayta's organisation is not yet registered as a political party in the South American country, although its leader is attempting to gather signatures to begin that process.

In an interview with the Guardian, he said his family's poverty was because "the Jews controlled the world economy" and revealed that he read both Mein Kampf and other antisemitic tracts before founding his group. He reportedly told a Chilean paper that the Jewish people, not Hitler, were responsible for killing millions and denied that the gas chambers existed.

He is also said to have claimed that when Peru was conquered by the Spanish it was by "the Jew Pizarro and his band of genocidal Jews" who he said "killed millions of native Peruvians in their mission to possess our gold".

An estimated 3,000 Jews live in Peru, mostly in Lima, and communal leaders have urged the authorities to take action against Mr Mayta's extremist group, accusing it of the "open expression of antisemitic racism".

A Peruvian Jewish community first emerged in the 16th century, when Jews arrived there after fleeing Inquisition-era Spain. But the modern community is descended from Ashkenazi Jews who arrived in the 19th century.

Last updated: 4:34pm, August 21 2012