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  • The Germany embassy is seen in Brasilia, Brazil September 17, 2018.

    The Germany embassy is seen in Brasilia, Brazil September 17, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 September 2018
Opinion

Brazil has a long history of German migration that dates back to the 19th century. Many Nazis fled to southern Brazil and other South American countries after World War II, including Josef Mengele of Auschwitz notoriety.

A video published by German diplomats explaining their country's efforts to learn from the Holocaust has kicked up a storm in Brazil, where the extreme-right has been growing ahead of the coming presidential election.

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The explanatory video — published on Facebook by the German embassy in Brasilia — says that Germans "don't hide from their past," adding that "from a young age they're taught to confront the horrors of the Holocaust."

The video's assertion that Nazism was a right-wing movement has enraged some in Brazil, who argued the party of Adolf Hitler espoused a left-wing political ideology due to its official name, the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

In the comments section of the video, which has amassed 776,000 views on the embassy's Facebook page, commenters also doubted the veracity of the Holocaust, which resulted in the killing of around 6 million Jews, labeling it a "Holofraud."

"The Holocaust is a historical fact, with proof and testimony that can be found in many parts of Europe," the embassy wrote on its Facebook page in response to one holocaust denier.

The extreme reactions to the video have revealed the deep divisions in the country ahead of the Oct. 7 first-round presidential vote, which has been overshadowed by violent political attacks and concerns over fake news.

Poll-leader Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right nationalist who is recovering in the hospital from a stab wound, has been called a Nazi by critics, while, in contrast, the vice presidential pick of the second-place candidate, Fernando Haddad, is herself a member of the country's Communist Party. The country's most popular politician, former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was also attacked repeatedly when he was campaigning, before finally being arrested on controversial corruption charges, which barred from running for office.

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