Rapid – Fan Convicted for Re-Engagement in National Socialist Activities

ORF, August 17

German original: http://wien.orf.at/news/stories/2861525/

A self-professed die-hard fan of soccer club Rapid Wien was sentenced by a jury court to 18 months in jail for re-engagement in national socialist activities.

The 39 year-old did raise his arm to the Nazi salute during a soccer game against Admira Wacker Mödling on August 13, 2016. „I didn’t give it much thought. It surely was not a good move.“

Criminal Record
Before the game he is said to have consumed alcohol with a group of like-minded individuals – the man has been part of the fan group Ultras Rapid for 15 years – in a pizza restaurant. This is how that happened, he explained to the court: „ A shitty move.“ He had „shot himself in the foot,“ the father of five children said regretfully. He had previously been convicted ten times and in addition has been banned from Austria’s stadiums and is thus not allowed to attend soccer games anymore.

A tattoo the man had made onto the back of his right hand a few years ago suggests that the Hitler salute did not happen by accident: the tattoo shows the number „88“ which stands for [the eight letter in the alphabet, thus] ] „Heil Hitler“ in extreme right-wing circles. According to the 39 year-old, the tattoo does not represent an encoded neo-Nazi greeting, but stands for February 1, 1988, the day the Ultras were founded.

Birthday Wishes for Hitler
„One can be a member of the Ultras and a neo-Nazi. Theoretically,“ judge Ulrich Nachtlberger remarked. This is not the case here, the defendant assured. The jury did not buy it and found the 39-year old guilty as suggested by the prosecution.

A previous conviction from 2013 might have played a role: The state court in Linz then sentenced the Rapid-fan to a suspended sentence after he had re-engaged in national socialist activities on Facebook. There, he posted on Hitler’s birthday: „Dear Adi! Happy Birthday! Greetings, 88“ and linked a video clip showing the Horst Wessel – Lied, the party hymn of the NSDAP.