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Freedom Party expels local official over Nazi memorabilia

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Freedom Party expels local official over Nazi memorabilia
The revelations are a headache for party leader Heinz-Christian Strache
15:33 CEST+02:00
Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) said on Wednesday it has expelled a local party official for hoarding Nazi memorabilia, in embarrassing revelations less than three weeks before national elections.

A local activist revealed that Martin Hochstöger had hung a plaque commemorating Hitler's 1938 annexation of Austria in a back room of his pharmacy in the town of Landeck, in Tyrol state.

Hochstöger, ex-president of the local pharmacists' association, also kept in a display case pieces of cloth with insignia including the SS Death's Head and the Nazi eagle, photos on the activist's blog showed.

Markus Abzwerger, head of the FPÖ in Tyrol, announced on Facebook on Wednesday that Hochstöger has been expelled from the party, saying that a "red line had clearly been crossed".

Hochstöger's plaque, complete with a quote from Hitler, commemorated a 1938 plebiscite when all but 20 of Landeck's 2,766

The anti-immigration FPOe, a party founded by ex-Nazis after World War II and formerly headed by Jörg Haider, has long sought to clean up its image but this latest incident is by no means isolated.

Last month the Mauthausen Committee, a group commemorating concentration camp victims, published a list of what it said were at least 60 anti-Semitic and racist incidents involving FPÖ figures since 2013.

The party, now headed by Heinz-Christian Strache, is forecast to come second or third in the parliamentary elections on October 15th and could enter the government as coalition partners.

READ ALSO: Leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party calls for 'zero immigration'

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