American Tourist Arrested For Giving Nazi Salute In Berlin

Coat_of_arms_of_Germany.svgWe recently discussed the arrest of two Chinese tourists for taking pictures of giving the Nazi salute in Berlin.  Now, an American has been arrested for giving the salute in Dresden — after a passerby punched him.  The arrests highlight the failed effort of Germans to criminalize certain forms of speech to deter neo-Nazis.

The tourist was reportedly drunk and gave the salute multiple times.  The 41-year-old was slightly injured when he was punched by a bystander.

As discussed earlier,  I have long been a critic of the German laws prohibiting certain symbols and phrases, I view it as not just a violation of free speech but a futile effort to stamp out extremism by barring certain symbols. Instead, extremists have rallied around an underground culture and embraced symbols that closely resemble those banned by the government. I fail to see how arresting a man for a Hitler ringtone is achieving a meaningful level of deterrence, even if you ignore the free speech implications.

Arresting tourists for giving salutes is not only a curtailment of speech but a useless exercise given the burgeoning population of neo-Nazis in the country.  The neo-Nazis routinely make a mockery of the limitations by making slight changes in their speech to evade the laws.  The real impact is to make these extremists into self-described victims and to make a mockery of Western principles of free speech. The solution to hate speech is counter-speech not the criminalization of speech.

91 thoughts on “American Tourist Arrested For Giving Nazi Salute In Berlin”

  1. Alex Fields Jr.:

    Charlottesville driver previously accused of beating mother
    By DAKE KANG and SARAH RANKIN Associated Press AUGUST 14, 2017 — 4:20PM

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The driver charged with killing a woman at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville was previously accused of beating his mother and threatening her with a knife, according to police records released Monday.

    Samantha Bloom, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, repeatedly called police about her son, James Alex Fields Jr., in 2010 and 2011, telling officers he was on medication to control his temper, transcripts from 911 calls show.

    Fields was arrested and put in juvenile detention after his mother reported in 2011 that he stood behind her wielding a 12-inch knife.

    In another incident in 2010, she said her son smacked her in the head and locked her in the bathroom after she told him to stop playing video games. There was no indication in the records that he was arrested.

    A teacher who taught Fields in high school said Sunday that Fields was fascinated with Nazism, idolized Hitler, and had been singled out in the ninth grade by officials at Randall K. Cooper High School in Union, Kentucky, for his “deeply held, radical” convictions on race.

    Fields also confided that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was younger and had been prescribed an anti-psychotic medication, according to the teacher, Derek Weimer.

    Fields later enlisted in the Army and reported for basic training in 2015 but was released from active duty four months later because of what military described only as “a failure to meet training standards.”

    The violence in Charlottesville also was blamed for the deaths of two Virginia State Police officers in a helicopter crash.

    1. Now we know that the individual that caused the death was alredy labelled crazy, That ends the “white supremacist” guilt for murder, but they still went to a rally ready and willing to fight and were met by leftists with a similar desire. That doesn’t speak very well for “white supremacists’ or leftsts.

  2. The American Founders believed that freedom is natural or god-given

    and existed before government was established.

    People are free or they suffer under dictatorship.

  3. Since the comments just below aren’t completely on topic I will add my own.

    According to the NYTimes reporter Eric Lipton anyone on the right that criticized those on the right involved with violence were “posturing for 2020” In other words the Times is so non-partisan that a person on the right could take all positions and the Times would criticize them.

    Cruz had said: “The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred that they propagate,” and also called for the DOJ to investigate the car attack that I think virtually everyone agrees with. One has to make sure that the car attack was perpetrated by a loner which is what appears to be the case and if not take action against the group.

    After Cruz’s remarks that so called reporter Eric Lipton said. “Sorry to be cynical, but most of all Rubio and Ted Cruz to me seem mostly to be doing a tremendous job of posturing for 2020,”

    Cruz answered back in a Tweet, “”Gosh, you’re right. Because Nazis & the Klan have such love for Cuban-Americans. If only we worked for a paper that shilled for Stalin…” and then “I know it’s hard to understand.Too many schools don’t teach NYT’s shameful history covering up Soviet atrocities.”

    The NYTimes does a great job of creating a type of tribal society where anyone that doesn’t agree is the enemy or one of the deplorable. Unfortunately that amounts to half or more of the population and a lot of the rest don’t know very much about anything.

  4. “Racism is evil,” Mr. Trump said. “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” -from the following article

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump bowed to overwhelming pressure that he personally condemn white supremacists who incited bloody demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend, labeling their racist views “evil” after two days of equivocal statements.

    “Racism is evil,” Mr. Trump said. “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

      1. Elaine Magliaro and SWM double team. I hope they’re not double billing Soros.

    1. The problem is that we have been seeing a lot of violence from other groups that so happen to represent causes of the left. I think all radical causes that intentionally incite violence should stop, but apparently that is not what some people want.

      In this case it appears both sides came carrying some type of weapon leading to the violence. Both sides should be looked at unfavorably.

        1. I’m not sure what is really meant by this except to inflame hatred and demean those that have been tortured and killed by ISIS.

          The one that intentionally ran his car into that woman and killed her possibly falls into the spectrum of ISIS that kills women and children, and men in the tens of thousands. How many of those pictured killed anyone if any did? If I had seen my family murdered by ISIS I’d want to spit on Podhoretz face for making a mockery of suffering.

  5. If anyone is interested google Uwe Mundlos and the NSU. Netflix has a documentary on them and the facinating take away, for me, was that the German Federal police used them to track other terrorists groups. Unfortunately 9 people got whacked as a result of the Fed’s obsession with the contacts these goups had.

  6. The most frightening thing about this story and CNN’s firing the guy for tweeting “seig heil,” is that the idea being expressed in both instances was a criticism of fascist behavior. Punishing those who criticize nazi-like behavior, doesn’t extinguish fascism, it perpetuates it.

  7. Basically, I agree with Turley, but I make a distinction. The American is not a German citizen so they can find his freedom of speech (a form of expression) abhorent if they wish and throw him out of the country. As far as their own citizens go I am not sure how far our concept of government extends into German practices so I couldn’t comment except to say that even here yelling fire in a theater isn’t permitted.

  8. I doubt the German authorities care much about goofballs and arrested-development cases doing something that’s the equivalent of an upraised-middle-finger. The utility of such laws is that they create legal precedents which can be re-deployed to sanction laws to criminalize speech that German authorities find truly threatening (e.g. critiques of immigration policy, immigrant populations, rapefugee populations, and the EU officialdom).

  9. Title wrong. Berlin is not Dresden.

    Perhaps our host partakes too much? Of what I can not say…

  10. After WW2, the allies had a huge program to de-nazify Germany and the German people. They had to change a national culture that was put in place by Hitler. This was a huge undertaking that was never done before in modern times. Whenever we are guest in someone else’s country we should act that way. I don’t think any of us would appreciate visitors coming to the US and being disrespectful to this country.

    1. How do you define ‘huge undertaking’?

      Neo-Nazi sentiment in Germany and Austria has been demographically unimportant throughout the post-war period. Read Erik v. Kuenheldt-Leddhin’s articles in Commonweal on public life in Austria just after the war. (He suggested the occupation authorities not debar quondam Nazis from public life but rather compel them to campaign in uniform and recite excerpts of some of Hitler’s most bombastic speeches). Germany and Austria were an occupied ruin after the war. That was sufficient to discredit the Nazis among all but a few diehards.

  11. As much as I agree with the thoughts expressed in this post and criticize CNN for firing Jeffrey Lord over similar conduct, when Americans go abroad, they must be aware of and respect the laws of the host country. Americans do not realize what the Nazi salute means to Germans. Germans bear a lot of guilt over the events in the Nazi era, however, their anti-Nazi laws reflect more than guilt. The Nazis destroyed Germany. WWII left the country in rubble, divided, and partially subject to Soviet domination for decades. Yet, there are people in Germany who view the Nazi era fondly, just like some Russians view the Soviet era fondly. To the average German, neo-Nazis are more than a few nut cases in Charlottsville. They view neo-Nazis as a real threat to their country. Perhaps this causes them to go a bit overboard in restricting free expression. Don’t we do the same thing on college campuses?

  12. Dear Professor Turley, I will say it again: arresting tourists or anyone for giving the nazi salut is not a useless exercise. Come live here yourself and see how nice it is at the airport in Munich when a group of young English boys, just off the plane, give the nazi salut. Of course they are just joking around (I hope). All you want to do is pick up friends from the States on a Sunday morning and you are confronted with that.

    1. Riesling re: “a group of young English boys” — surely you meant young English LOUTS? =)

  13. Here’s a big thank you to the guy in Dresden who knocked the stupid American guy down.

    1. By my count, Riesling, that would be the first victory ever by a German over an American and, of course, it was by a sucker punch.

        1. issac – and let us not forget Kesselring’s brilliant defense of N. Italy, keeping the Allies at bay. And the early days of the Battle of the Bulge.

      1. Oh please, Mespo! There’s a real problem here of Americans experiencing their first decent beer and then overindulging and doing stupid things. 😜

  14. Why are we so insecure that every time a white “supremacist ” calls for a rally we start yelling and screaming ? Don’t we trust our people to choose the right path for this country ?

    1. Because they march around with Nazi flags and guns! They try to intimidate people with their weapons and they often accompany their rallies with threats. Peaceful protests of groups who wish to terrorize and intimidate people are appropriate. Using a car to kill those peaceful protestors is murder.

      1. Peaceful protests of groups who wish to terrorize and intimidate people are appropriate.

        Antifa types wear masks. There’s a reason for that.

        In Charolottesville, a mess of them had bats at the ready and immediately swarmed the squish car. They actually weren’t ‘peaceful protesters’.

        Up until the point the squish car started to roll, the whole mess in Charlottesville was familiar. The police were told to stand down, antifa types started fights with the white-nationalist types (whose protest had a permit), and then the Democratic Party officialdom made use of that as an excuse to shut the lawfully-organized rally down. Partisan Democrats are perfectly happy with this sort of abuse of discretion and they’ll use it against people who are much less aesthetically unappealing than the sort of people who hang out at AmRen.

  15. I am with the German government on this one. They have a line in the sand and anyone who crosses it is arrested.

    1. Only totalitarians criminalize speech and they do it to criminalize thought. You’d think the Germans of all people would remember that.

      1. mespo – I think part of this was the original denazification program after the war. So, the start of this, you can probably blame on the Allies.

          1. The left and Deep State here are using the same game plan. They are suspending the 1st Amendment and rewriting history. After all the Confederate statues have been destroyed, they will then go full college PC and do things like make Traveller’s Insurance change their name because that was the name of Robert E Lee’s horse. This is smelling like Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

              1. Actually first they became International Socialists which begat National Socialists and a dozen other names. None of which have anything to do with a Representative Constitutional Republic and since there is no such thing in the USA as a democracy it leaves them grasping and gasping for some reason to exist. Especially since the USSR no longer exists.

              2. Squeek, i’m old enough to remember the ACLU defending Nazi’s protesting in Skokie..SKOKIE, a Jewish community, in the 70’s! And this was not so long after WW2. Well, they also defended these Nazi’s in Charlottesville, The ACLU was instrumental in keeping peace in Skokie. But, they didn’t stand a chance w/ these Soros thugs. It was Thug v Thug, although not the way the MSM is reporting.

                1. The city of Charlottesville tried to revoke the march permit. But the ACLU took it to Federal Court and of course the judge allowed the march. So..Charlottesville mayor pulls the cops way back and lets the leftist thugs attack. A setup if I ever saw one.

                  1. Nick, isn’t the mayor a Democratic activist? No matter what party he belonged to he should be removed. There was no excuse for permitting such violence to get out of hand.

                    1. Allan, How many Dem activists Mayors have been held accountable for presiding over morally and fiscally bankrupt cities that they have been running for generations? Only when the FBI put one in prison, These are the monopoly bosses who want to run the entire country like they have run their fiefdoms.

                  2. The most violent cities in the US generally have Democratic mayors.

                    I note frankly’s picture. Note how few “white supremacists” marched and how infrequently we see them. Then look at the leftists that have to be restrained all over the country almost continuously. The Democrats used to be considered more civil speech oriented, but today they are restricting speech to such an extent that one might want to use the word totalitarian of fascist for many of the left’s outbursts.

                    1. I have to laugh at frankly (s)he or it has to use the same pictures, old pictures etc. Just go to any large campus and have a conservative speaker speak and you will find more leftist lunatics destroying things at that one event then you might see over the nation in similar outbursts from the crazies considered to be on the other side. Just a point to note. Many times the left sends people out to peaceful demonstrations they disagree with the intention of starting violence. I have seen it. Those leftists are animals. During the Vietnam War protests they would try to incite riots and see if they couldn’t get a young college kid between them and the police hoping the police would crack open the innocent heads.

                2. Over on another thread, the Pot one, I can’t get any of the lefties to admit that even White Supremacists and KKKer’s have a right to rally, free from violence. Natacha The Nasty Neo-Fascist even said, “. . .white supremacists, []who thought they had a right to take to the streets to protest a decision by a local elected body . . .”

                  I suggested to her that they thought that due to the First Amendment. She did not respond. Maybe I should have said Der erste Änderungsantrag instead???

                  Squeeky Fromm
                  Girl Reporter

                  1. I kind of wondered which of the DNC whitebread extremist supremacists set up the whole thing? And which one’s sign the parade permit?

    2. I am with the current German government on this curtailment of behavior. The Germans are not capable of exercising free speech when it comes around to the Nazi thing. They imposed the Holocaust on Europe. They killed millions of gypsies, jews and others. The salute is what gets them going. There is an evil element in the German body and soul. They know it. Y’all should know it too.
      On the exact same subject. We have similar cretens in the United States. They are White bigots who join the Klan. We need to outlaw entirely he wearing of a Klan outfit, the carrying of a Confederate Flag and the whole American sieg hiel thing. It is not free speech to advocate lynching. It is terrorism. It is American terrorism as we have known it since the last day of the Civil War.
      Germany and America. Different strokes for similar folks. And do not blame German migrants or think that Klansmen are of German heritage. No. When some southern dork tells you that carrying or displaying the Confederate Flag is “my hair tige” he is referring to the word “heritage”. They want you to think that they had ancestors who were in the Civil War and will ususally deny having mom and dads in the Klan. But the Klan is their heritage or Hair Tidge.

      1. To be clear. The American Klan members are not of German heritage. They are Scots, Irish, English. The dork arrested in the Klan event in VA had last name Fields. No. Germans who migrated to America in the pre Civil War era and thereafter were Abolitionists. You can look to the history in St. Louis and Ferguson for that.

        1. In 1848 here was a failed “progressive movement” in Europe including Germany. When it failed many folks migrated to America. We got many progressive Germans. They were abolitionists when that issue came up and fought for the North and fought in Missouri for the federal side against the state confederates. Keeping Missouri out of the Confederacy helped win the Civil War for the North. The Missouri Governor was a Confederate. From then on the Germans in Missouri are mostly centrist kind of people. I never met one Klan person who was of German heritage. I met some Klan folks in Southern Illinois and other Southern states. Usually they are of Sctos, Irish and or English descent. It is a mistake to contort the present day Heil Hitler thing in Germany with the events in Charlotesville, VA. Those Confeds are not Krauts.

    1. It is kinda like the way some folks pronounce the word “heritage”– they say Hair Tidge. f

        1. Michael, US District Judge Glen Conrad ruled the City attempt to revoke the march permit violated the 1st Amendment.

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