(JTA) — Jewish leaders in Spain are calling for an investigation after a far-right event in Madrid featured anti-Semitic speeches and a Nazi salute.
About 300 people attended the event held near a cemetery in the Spanish capital where veterans who fought alongside Hitler’s troops are buried. In one speech, a young woman was filmed saying: “Our duty is to fight for Spain and Europe now weakened by the enemy, which remains the same but wears many masks: the Jew.”
Public expressions of admiration for Nazi Germany, anti-Semitic rhetoric and large far-right gatherings are relatively uncommon in Spain, where many people have bitter memories from the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, who sided with the Nazis during World War II and then ruled Spain until 1975.
But as in many European countries, right-wing populism has seen a massive and sudden rise in popularity in Spain in recent years. In 2019, the Vox populist right-wing party entered parliament for the first time as the country’s third-largest party, with 52 out of 350 seats.
The Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain in a statement Monday called on prosecutors to launch an investigation into incitement to violence and discrimination against some of the people who attended the event, including the young woman, who has not been identified in the media.
She also said: “The Jew is guilty and the Blue Division will fight it,” Ultima Hora reported.
The Blue Division, a small neo-Nazi network, derives its name from the units of Spanish volunteers who fought in Russia during World War II alongside the troops of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Veterans from that detachment are buried at the cemetery where the event took place.