'Adolf Hitler double' arrested on suspicion of glorifying Nazi leader in Austria

Police say man dressed up as Führer and posed outside his birthplace

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The Independent Online

A man has been arrested on suspicion of glorifying Nazism after allegedly impersonating Adolf Hitler at the dictator’s birthplace.

Sporting a distinctive side parting, moustache and 1940s-style suit, the 25-year-old reportedly walked into a bar in Braunau am Inn and introduced himself as “Harald Hitler”, before demanding Austrian mineral water.

He was also spotted browsing Second World War magazines in a local book shop and posing for photos outside the house where Hitler was born in 1889 before being arrested on Monday.

“The glorification of Adolf Hitler is punishable,” a spokesperson for the Ried prosecutor’s office told the Oberösterreichischen Nachrichten newspaper. “If I dress as Hitler and pose outside his birthplace, I am reviving this nationalist ideology.”

David Furtner, a spokesperson for local police, said the suspect was detained after being seen repeatedly in front Hitler’s birthplace. 

“He appears to glorify Hitler,” he added, saying the man was not believed to be taking part in a prank or performance.

The man, named locally as Harald Zenz, remains in custody while prosecutors decide whether to press criminal charges ahead of a deadline on Wednesday.

Known as the "Hitler double", he reportedly moved to Braunau in January from the Austrian state of Styria, renting a flat in the town.

A man closely resembling the suspect, in the same distinctive suit and hairstyle, was spotted at a demonstration by the anti-Muslim Pegida group in Graz last year.

Glorifying Hitler or the Third Reich is a crime in Austria, which Nazi Germany annexed in 1938.

Authorities in Braunau have been attempting to prevent the town becoming a destination for right-wing extremists and are locked in a legal battle attempting to repurpose the house where the Führer was born.

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