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2 people charged after Hitler speeches blared on train intercom in Austria

Times piece questions the sincerity of Hitler's anti-Semitism
New York Times digs up 1922 profile of Hitler 00:57

Two people were charged in Austria for allegedly playing speeches by Adolf Hitler via the loudspeaker system of a train running from Bregenz to Vienna, Austrian news agency APA reported Monday.

The two suspects, who were not identified, also blasted the "Heil Hitler" Nazi salute via the train's intercom several times on Sunday. The authorities tracked them down by analyzing video from the train cameras. Spreading Nazi propaganda is a criminal offense in Austria.

The two are also suspected of responsibility for two other incidents last week on trains running from St. Poelten to Vienna, in which recordings were played over the train intercom. Two trains were manipulated to broadcast a "nonsensical, confusing mix" of childrens' songs and old, flawed announcements, OeBB spokesman Bernhard Rieder told AFP.

The suspects are believed to have opened the train conductors' intercom cabins with a key all train employees own, and then played the recordings, APA reported.

Austrian rail operator OeBB declined to identify the suspects, but said they are "not OeBB employees."

Austria Train Announcements Hitler
Trains are parked at a station in Vienna, Austria, Friday, March 27, 2020. Ronald Zak/AP

Hitler was born in Austria, which the Nazis "annexed" into the Third Reich in 1938. It now has some of the world's strictest laws against Holocaust denial and pro-Nazi activities. Despite this, offenses involving expressions of pro-Nazi sentiment are not uncommon.

In 2016, Austrian government officials decided to transform the home where Hitler was born into a base for a charity. The house is located in Braunau am Inn, a town on Austria's border with Germany.

A house in nearby Leonding, where Hitler lived as a teenager, is now used to store coffins for the town cemetery. There, the tombstone marking the grave of Hitler's parents, another pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis, was removed in 2015 at the request of a descendant.

A school that Hitler attended in Fischlham, also near Braunau, displays a plaque condemning his crimes against humanity.

Austrians who fled their country during the Holocaust were subsequently stripped of their citizenship. In 2021, a change in the law allowed those Austrians, and their descendants, to reclaim their Austrian citizenship and heritage.

60 Minutes 2006 report: Hitler’s secret archive 13:01

AFP contributed to this report.

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