A group of far-right skinheads took pictures of themselves at a former concentration camp in Austria last week wearing shirts with slogans saying, “I love the Nazis” and giving Hitler salutes.

The men, from the Austrian town of Wels, posted photographs on the internet of themselves visiting Mauthausen, where tens of thousands of mostly Jewish inmates were killed.
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The far-right group was pictured wearing party hats and shirts proclaiming, “I like Nazi Rock” and “National Socialist,” and drinking during their visit to the infamous site. One of the images depicted three skinheads giving the Nazi salute in front of the entrance to the gas chambers.

Willi Mernyi, a spokesman for the Mauthausen memorial committee, said: “The visit was meant as provocation. These people are not dumb teenagers but adults who knew exactly what they were doing.”

Austria’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution has began investigating the incident. It is illegal in Austria to give the Nazi salute or display far-right symbols.

Mernyi added that the latest incident was not a unique occurrence. He said: “This is just one of a series of similar cases.”

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) warned of a rise in far-right and neo-Nazi movements across Europe. The organization said: “Parliamentary elections showing improving results for the far-right, coupled with increasing anti-Semitism and racism, show that Europe has let down its guard.”

EJC President Moshe Kantor urged European leaders to take action against extreme movements. He told the Jewish News: “We call on European leaders to act strongly against these forces before they are able to gather momentum and plunge the continent into hatred and intolerance. We recommend a ban on the display of neo-Nazi symbols across the whole of Europe.”

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “These chilling acts reinforce the need to educate people about the Holocaust as, shamefully, even today there are people who pursue the Nazis’ grotesque ideology.”

Almost 200,000 people were interned at Mauthausen. They were subjected to medical experiments and hard labour and were shot, gassed or tortured to death.