Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer is a front-runner in the elections for Austria’s new president.
Hofer has done a great deal to rehabilitate the image of the party, which was originally formed by former SS officers and has been dogged by reports of antisemitism and Holocaust denial.
Hofer’s policies make great play of ‘Austrian identity’ which has been interpreted as a coded message about racial purity. He frequently poses with firearms, and wearing the blue cornflower badge which was a symbol of the inter-war pan-Germanist parties that gave rise to the Nazi party.
Hofer is also an honorary member of the strongly right-wing student group Marko-Germania zu Pinkafeld.
An Austrian Holocaust survivor named only as ‘Gertrude’ has made an impassioned video appeal for her compatriots not to vote for Hofer.
Gertrude, a 89-year-old pensioner, talks in the video about her fears about a Hofer-led Austria.
Gertrude has a particularly strong reason to have concerns about the resurgence of the far right in Austria and Germany. As a 16-year-old she was separated from her family as they were shipped of to concentration camps. She never saw them again.