German police and the state security service (BfV) have launched an investigation after a video appeared on social media showing several people making Nazi salutes at an Oktoberfest celebration in the German state of Saxony.
The footage, which was posted on social media earlier this week, shows three men and one woman dressed in traditional Bavarian clothing repeatedly making Nazi salutes while in an Oktoberfest tent as the Nazi-era marching song “Erika” is played loudly in the background. One man performs the salute up to 15 times in the 16-second video.
Outrage erupts in Poland after a video emerged online of Germans celebrating Octoberfest in Saxony by listening to nazi songs and making Hitler salutes pic.twitter.com/ehNahmtdKn— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) September 27, 2023
Performing Nazi salutes were made illegal in Germany and Austria shortly after the end of the Second World War and could result in prison sentences ranging from three months to five years, depending on intent. The song is not banned in either country.
According to the German tabloid Bild, the incident took place in a small village in Saxony, eastern Germany during Oktoberfest.
A regional police officer stated on Monday that they were aware of the video and were sending officers to the scene directly. A spokesperson for the Saxony police, Marcel Malchow, told Bild that the BfV, which is responsible for investigating extremist and terrorist activities, would be involved in the investigation as well.
While the lyrics are not political in nature, the 1938 song “Erika” soon came into use by the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Nazi Germany, and was frequently played during Nazi Party rallies and public events.