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In Switzerland, elected officials want to ban Nazi objects and symbols


A Nazi flag exhibited at an arms exchange, insignia of the Third Reich sold online... All this is not abnormal in Switzerland where the exhibition and...

A Nazi flag exhibited at an arms exchange, insignia of the Third Reich sold online... All this is not abnormal in Switzerland where the exhibition and sale of Nazi objects are not prohibited, contrary to other European countries.

Things could change, at least in the canton of Geneva.

Regional elected officials - from left and right - presented a text in January to

"prohibit the display or wearing of Nazi symbols, emblems or any other object in the public domain".

Friday, International Day dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, the Geneva Parliament voted by 56 votes against 28 in favor of the text.

“A welcome, necessary and useful text”

It will then have to be accepted by the Council of Geneva and then by the Federal Parliament in Bern, before a popular referendum in Geneva.

"This text is welcome, necessary and useful"

, declared François Lefort, elected from the Greens.

“There are no measures that are too late to prevent Nazi ideas from expressing themselves through these objects,”

Liberal MP Alexis Barbey, co-signatory of the text, told AFP.

Exceptions should be made for museums and cinemas.

“The symbolic significance is very great since it has been more than twenty years since different politicians from different parties have tried to ban these Nazi symbols and objects”,

commented the deputy of the radical right UDC Thomas Bläsi, to the origin of the text.

“Nazism has no place in Europe, has no place in Switzerland”

, assured AFP the man who is one of the grandchildren of French Colonel Gaston de Bonneval, former aide-de-camp of the General de Gaulle.

Arrested by the Gestapo in 1943, he had been deported for almost two years to Mauthausen.

Some 200,000 prisoners - nearly half of whom died, suffered from hunger, disease, gassed or executed - passed through this concentration camp, liberated in May 1945. 90 years ago, on January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor, and more and more voices were being raised in Switzerland calling for the country to side with its European neighbors who, like Germany, Belgium and several Eastern European countries such as Poland, prohibit Nazi symbols.

“Prevention is not enough”

In France, the law prohibits the exhibition of Nazi objects but not their sale, even if it is rarely tolerated.

In Switzerland, "the wearing, the exhibition of Nazi symbols is not prohibited in the public space as long as it is not accompanied by a message or statement promoting racist or anti-Semitic ideology", explained to AFP Johanne Gurfinkiel, secretary general of the Cicad, representing Jewish communities and organizations in the French-speaking part of the Alpine country.

This Swiss


made it possible to facilitate the gatherings of European neo-Nazi groups or to give rise to a very open trade on the internet, in particular in uniforms or objects from the Third Reich, he observed.

In recent years, particularly during the period of pandemic and health measures, the Cicad has observed in Switzerland a substantial increase in the use of symbols linked to Nazism or the Holocaust, especially during demonstrations.

Faced with the trivialization of these symbols, a member of parliament tabled a motion at the end of 2021 for Bern to legislate.

In response, the federal government assured that the best weapon remained


and that

“we must accept that disturbing ideas can be expressed even if the majority finds them shocking”.

Under pressure, he eventually instructed the Federal Office of Justice to examine the need and possibilities for action, which concluded in December that an express ban on the use of Nazi symbols

"is in principle possible, but that the creation of a new standard would come up against significant legal obstacles”.

For the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (FSCI), it is time to act:

“When prevention is no longer enough, criminal law must intervene”.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-01-27

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