‘Prosecco Nazis’ singing xenophobic chant prompts police crackdown

‘Prosecco Nazis’ singing xenophobic chant prompts police crackdown

A group of well-dressed partygoers dubbed the “Prosecco Nazis” and sparked a police crackdown after they sang a song telling foreigners to go home while one performed a Hitler salute.

A video shows the revellers in the Pony nightclub on the German island of Sylt, a high-end holiday destination, singing to the tune L’amour Toujours by Gigi D’Agostino.

“Foreigners out, Germany for the Germans,” they sing while one performs a Nazi salute and moustache gesture in apparent reference to Adolf Hitler.

The clip surfaced online in late May, with the group dubbed “Prosecco Nazis” by the German business magazine Handelsblatt. It has now become widely shared and police have reported a rise in copycat incidents.

Olaf Scholz, the chancellor, has stepped in, calling the chants “disgusting”, while musician D’Agostino criticised the misuse of his signature song, saying “it’s about love and the universal feeling of unity”.

Cases of people repeating the chant have been reported at town fairs, discos, private parties, and the Austria-Turkey European Championships football match.

Chant reported to police 360 ​​times

Police say that between October 2023 and June 2024 they have been called over 360 times to reports of the chant, according to the German news agency RND. Arrests have been made.

The highest proportion of those calls were made in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, at 97.

The phrase “Germany for the Germans, foreigners out” has a long history and was once repeated by Hitler.

After it caused controversy by being featured on posters for the neo-Nazi NPD party in the 1980s, Germany’s highest court ruled that it was not illegal. Nazi salutes, however, are illegal and people have been arrested for making them.

It is not thought that anyone from the video has been arrested although one young woman featured in it was fired from her job and another banned from attending her university.

Germany has seen a surge of support for the far-right amid a rise in anti-migrant rhetoric.

Towards the end of last month the leaders of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party reported a surge in membership and vowed to build on the party’s success in the European Parliament election as they target wins in three state votes in the east this year.

The AfD jumped to second place in nationwide polls last year amid frustration with infighting in Mr Scholz’s coalition, concerns about “uncontrolled” migration shared even by footballer Toni Kroos, worries about sluggish growth in Europe’s largest economy, and concerns over the impact of the war in Ukraine.

Vadim Derksen, an AfD member, said he was baffled that police should go after people just singing a song.

“People thought it was hypocritical that there was so much condemnation from the authorities for just a song, while crimes committed by migrants went unpunished,” he told The Telegraph.

While the “Prosecco Nazis” were not the first to sing the song, said Mr Derksen, since their clip, “Now you hear it everywhere”.