German carnival floats take aim at racism in wake of deadly attack
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German carnival floats take aim at racism in wake of deadly attack

Parade floats in Cologne, Duesseldorf, Mainz feature commentary on hatred, days after German man killed 9 people of foreign background before apparently killing his mother, himself

A carnival float depicts far-right AfD politician Bjoern Hoecke, whose arm is raised by CDU politician Mike Mohring and FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich at the Thuringa elections, seen prior the traditional carnival parade in Duesseldorf, Germany, on Feb. 24, 2020.  (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
A carnival float depicts far-right AfD politician Bjoern Hoecke, whose arm is raised by CDU politician Mike Mohring and FDP politician Thomas Kemmerich at the Thuringa elections, seen prior the traditional carnival parade in Duesseldorf, Germany, on Feb. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

BERLIN — Biting commentary on racism in Germany featured prominently Monday among carnival floats in western cities, hastily put together in the aftermath of a deadly far-right attack last week near Frankfurt.

The floats for parades in Cologne, Duesseldorf, Mainz and elsewhere are notorious for their no-holds-barred satire, and also took aim at Brexit, the potential candidates to take over leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party, and US President Donald Trump.

One even featured a clown-like figure labeled “Carnival-Virus” thumbing its nose at an evil looking “Corona-Virus” creature.

Last Wednesday, a 43-year-old German man who had posted a racist screed online advocating genocide gunned down nine people of foreign background in the Frankfurt suburb of Hanau, before apparently killing himself and his mother.

A carnival float, depicting a reveller laughing at the Coronavirus, waits for the start of the traditional carnival parade in Duesseldorf, Germany, on , Feb. 24, 2020 (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

It was the latest in a string of far-right attacks in Germany and many have pointed the finger at the Alternative for Germany party, suggesting its nationalist anti-migrant rhetoric has helped create the climate for violence.

One Duesseldorf float depicted a red-faced man yelling in rage, a pistol protruding from his mouth with the word “racism” on the barrel. On the side was the slogan “from words come deeds” and a list of the attacks, including Hanau.

A carnival float depicting a racist with a gun in his mouth, reading ‘from words to action’ prior the traditional carnival parade in Duesseldorf, Germany, on Feb. 24, 2020 (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

In Cologne, a somber float depicted a weeping Carnival jester holding a heart with the slogan “our heart beats for Hanau.”

Another Duesseldorf float featured Alternative for Germany regional leader Bjoern Hoecke, who called Berlin’s memorial to the victims of the Nazi Holocaust a “monument of shame,” giving a Nazi salute, with his outstretched arm being held up by figures from Merkel’s CDU party and the pro-business FDP.

Festivities in several cities were called off Sunday due to high winds but the Monday parades were expected to go ahead.

A man takes a picture of a satiric carnival float depicting US President Donald Trump as horror clown Pennywise during a preview in a hall in Cologne, Germany, Feb. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

The floats were in stark contrast to those at Sunday’s parade in the Belgian city of Aalst. Caricatures of Jews, including ones depicting them as ants, were prominently displayed at the annual carnival. The Belgian government said that the anti-Semitism in the three-day festival embarrassed the nation and endangers society.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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