German magazine slammed for Trump Nazi salute cover
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German magazine slammed for Trump Nazi salute cover

Simon Wiesenthal Center says Stern cover depicting US president as 'a latter-day Hitler' is 'untrue and beyond the pale'

The cover of the latest issue of the German magazine Stern depicting US President Donald Trump extending his arm in a Nazi salute. (Screen capture: YouTube)
The cover of the latest issue of the German magazine Stern depicting US President Donald Trump extending his arm in a Nazi salute. (Screen capture: YouTube)

BERLIN — This week’s cover of a popular German news magazine depicting US President Donald Trump draped in the American flag while giving a stiff-armed Nazi salute drew sharp criticism from a prominent Jewish group.

Stern magazine’s illustration was part of a cover story headlined “Sein Kampf,” which translates as “His Struggle” and is a play on Adolf Hitler’s infamous “Mein Kampf.”

Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center said it has been “outspoken in criticizing President Trump for failing to make a distinction between Nazis and KKK protesters and those who opposed them” but “the depiction of the president as a latter-day Hitler by a major German publication is untrue and beyond the pale.”

It said “Germans must surely know that by misappropriating” Nazi symbols, “they belittle and becloud” past crimes.

In addition to Stern magazine, other publications have taken aim at Trump on magazine covers over his remarks appearing to equate neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan with counter-protesters at the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month.

In February, German weekly Der Spiegel sparked controversy with a cover depicting Trump holding the severed head of the Statue of Liberty in one hand and a bloodied knife in the other.

“On our cover the American president beheads the symbol which has welcomed migrants and refugees to the United States since 1886, and with democracy and freedom,” Spiegel’s chief editor Klaus Brinkbaeumer told German news agency DPA at the time.

The image, which shows an orange face featureless save for a wide-open mouth, was seized upon for discussion by other media outlets in Germany and beyond.

Bild tabloid saw a direct parallel with Mohammed Emwazi, the British national known by the pseudonym “Jihadi John,” who was seen in several videos showing the beheading of Islamic State hostages.

Edel Rodriquez, the artist behind the cover, was quoted by the Washington Post on his rationale for the image.

“It’s a beheading of democracy, a beheading of a sacred symbol,” Rodriguez said.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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