ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — Greek police are investigating the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party after some of its members were filmed threatening to turn immigrants “into soap” and put them in “ovens.”
The investigation announced Wednesday was prompted by the broadcast Tuesday of a program on Britain’s Channel 4 News that followed Golden Dawn candidates during last year’s elections. In the program, one of the candidates, Alexandros Plomeratis, makes clear Holocaust references in threatening the many immigrants who live in Athens. “We are ready to turn on the ovens,” he says. “We will turn them into soap but we may get a rash." Plomaritis, who was not elected to parliament, also threatened to “make lamps from their skins.”
Following the broadcast, the Greek police’s new anti-racism task force said it had submitted the footage to an Athens prosecutor for review.
Golden Dawn said in a statement posted on its website that its members had been illegally filmed and that they had been “joking” with the reporters.
Golden Dawn swept into the Greek Parliament with 19 lawmakers in last year’s elections, campaigning on an anti-austerity, anti-immigrant platform that preyed on the fears of Greeks who have seen the country flooded with immigrants amid a terrible recession. Greek and international Jewish groups repeatedly have condemned Golden Dawn as racist and anti-Semitic.