American tourist punched for making Nazi salute in Germany

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A U.S. tourist who performed a Nazi salute outside a bar in eastern Germany was punched by a local citizen, German police said on Sunday. The American is now facing charges for making the illegal gesture. (more)

The incident happened on early Saturday morning when a 41-year-old American tourist left a bar in Dresden, a city in Germany’s eastern state of Saxony, about 165 kilometers (102 miles) south of the capital Berlin.

Police said the tourist had repeatedly performed a Nazi salute, in which the right arm is extended from the neck into the air with a straightened hand. The gesture, which is usually accompanied by the phrases “Heil Hitler!” or “Sieg Heil!”, was used to signal support for Germany’s Nazi Party and its leader, Adolf Hitler.

The man’s gesture angered bystanders, prompting one of them to punch the tourist in the face.

Police and paramedics were called but the attacker had already left the scene. The tourist – whose identity was not released – was treated at the scene and later cited by police for making the Nazi salute, which is illegal in Germany and a number of other countries.

It was not immediately known why the man, who was described as drunk, made the gesture. Prosecutors are considering a charge of using symbols of illegal organizations, which is punishable with a fine or a prison sentence of up to 3 years.

A criminal investigation has also been opened to find the man who punched the American citizen.

Tourists in Germany have in the past been prosecuted for making the Nazi salute, or Hitlergruß in German. Two Chinese tourists were arrested earlier this month after they performed Nazi salutes outside the historic Reichstag building in Berlin while taking pictures of each other.

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