The head of the Greek neo-Nazi party elected to parliament during May 6 elections has denied in an interview the existence of gas chambers in Nazi death camps during World War II.
The comments drew a sharp rebuke from the outgoing government, with a spokesman saying they distorted history and were an affront to Holocaust victims.
“There were no ovens, no gas chambers, it’s a lie,” Nikos Mihaloliakos, the head of the Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) party, said during an interview aired on the private Mega television channel on Sunday night.
“Auschwitz, what Auschwitz? I didn’t go there. What happened there? Have you been there,” he asked a reporter in the interview, adding that he had “read lots of books casting doubt on the number of six million Jews” who died in the Holocaust.
The comments marked the first time Mihailoliakos denied the extent of the Holocaust since his party garnered 6.9 percent of votes in the May 6 poll, netting 21 seats in the 300-member parliament in an election that saw voters fed up with austerity punish mainstream parties in favor of radicals.
The spokesman for the outgoing government, Pantelis Kapsis, said he “condemned in the most categoric manner” the statements “that distort history and pose as a brutal assault to the memory of millions of Holocaust victims.”
Among these were “tens of thousands of Greek Jews,” Kapsis said, in a rare official reference to the country’s Jewish community, whose near total annihilation by the Nazis only recently started being mentioned in school history books.