Berlusconi's new gaffe: claims German people deny death camps' existence
Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, center, leaves a court in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, April 23, 2014 after a signing off on rules that lets him to do community service instead of a year’s house arrest. (AP / Luca Bruno)
The Associated Press
Published Saturday, April 26, 2014 3:40PM EDT
ROME -- Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has sparked anger by claiming that Germans deny that Nazi-run death camps ever existed.
Berlusconi was presenting his centre-right Forza Italia party's candidates Saturday in Milan for May's European Parliament elections when he mentioned a 2003 gaffe he made comparing now Parliament president Martin Schulz to a concentration camp guard. Berlusconi said he didn't want to offend Schulz, then added: "the Germans, for them, concentration camps never existed."
German Families Minister Manuela Schwesig, on Twitter, called Berlusconi's remarks "unspeakable" and urged a fight against right-wing "populism."
A Berlusconi stalwart, former education minister Mariastella Gelmini, dismissed the flap as campaign propaganda.
Berlusconi lost his Italian Senate seat and is banned from running in elections because of a tax fraud conviction but still leads his party.