Not many people were able to escape the photos coming out of Austria this week of the arrest of one of their citizens born under the name Harald Zenz. Granted, tabloids generate their financing from picking up on any type of trash or head turning fodder, and this case was no different. Individual reports coming from every land in Europe and Scandinavia as well as worldwide touted the pixelated visage of Harald reporting his supposed "illegal" actions of "glorifying WWII". Having recently moved close to the home town of Adolf Hitler who was born in Braunau am Inn in 1889, he has been sighted in bars and locals there as of late.
As Germany and Austria have strict laws pertaining to the dissemination and representation of WWII memorabilia and most Third Reich materials, Harald found himself being arrested after someone overheard him telling someone in a bar that his name is "Harald Hitler" and reportedly ordering for "Austrian spring water". Writing as a half Austrian-half American dual citizen - I always found it hard to accept the Germanic position of shirking all responsibility in dealing with the mayhem they imposed on Europe during the Third Reich by censoring anything having to do with the regime. It comes as no surprise that Adolf Hitler´s "Mein Kampf" became a best seller last year upon its first German publishing since the end of WWII. On top of enforcing these inane laws on their public, Der Spiegel and many other large media corporations are free to embellish and relive the Second World War in report after report of "serious" news, shoving the history down their readers throats while they rake in funds from their exploitation. If there is or was a full ban on publishing a history the officials would rather be left forgotten, why is it that you can find a gleaming Swastika somewhere on some cover of some magazine any month in these lands?
The problem with Harald transcends further than these rather backwards laws. In this case, it is the first time an Austrian citizen has been arrested for grooming himself similar to their past Fuehrer. Grasping at straws here in Finland, trying to get my head around his arrest and subsequent tabloid fame - I can only fathom that in addition to the rather comical stylings of Herr Zenz, many countries around the world also were fawning over the sheer idiocy of the Austrian State being able to actually arrest and charge someone with "glorifying Hitler" because of something overheard in a bar coming from someone with a dodgy fashion sense. It only makes sense to break this down piece by piece.
1. The Haircut
Having spent many along night in the Viennese Goth scene, I have been privy to witness every single version of the classic SS haircut - from longer bangs, to closer shaved sides. On men - on women. Waxed, unwaxed - bleached and dyed in every color imaginable. As I recall, not too long ago the trend hit with "Brooklyn Hipsters" sporting the same cut along with their (possibly transplanted) ever so well groomed beards. Never has anyone been arrested for this.
2. The Moustache
Depending on who you are trying to impress, I would not normally suggest this look on anyone. The "Toothbrush Moustache" is not the sexiest look, and is sure to evoke a laugh or two. To be honest and very clinical about his facial hair, I would have to point out that Harald´s moustache is much wider than Adolf Hitlers - at lest by a few millimeters. An even more hysteric tribute to either Chaplin or Hitler (always amuses me that they lived at the same time) in recent history can be found on GG Allins brother, Merle. No one has ever been arrested, to my knowledge, for this either.... in fact if you look hard enough you will find one "somewhere" on an U-bahn or walking in the hills.
3. The Jacket
Reported in the British Press as a "Military Jacket" - Herr Zenz´s choice of Jacket is none other than the traditional Austrian "Trachten". Far from the Iron Cross clad, polished in black and red Goths who sweep corseted Frauleins off their platformed feet at one of the many Goth Balls like "Schwarzer Reigen" in the Austrian Capital - Zenz persists to buck the system by donning a very standard Austrian "mountain" look. Nothing sensational, nothing Military about it. Too bad Dirndls (traditional Austrian dress for women) were not the standard for the female SS. That might have made things even more interesting. Once again.... NO ONE has ever - in the entire (long and always dramatic) history of Austria been arrested for wearing a Trachten - the sheer idea of it makes absolutely no sense as it is a traditional outfit.
Now.... We can look at all the facts. Der Standard wrote about Herr Zenz having already been investigated for someone once seeing him "somewhere" giving a Roman salute, or Nazi salute. I imagine in the rapid Islamization of Europe the Austrian government has other things to think about than an Austrian youth talking shit at a bar wearing a lowly mountain jacket with a bad haircut. Harald Zenz has not been proven to be a danger to the people, to himself or to be involved in serious politics. It really seemed to piss off the law and the whole of Austria when he refused to be pinned or come out as some type of "Artist". Why should he be. Maybe he is just taking what he sees and hears from every Austrian and putting it in their face. I am so sick of these "politically correct" Austrians who turn a blind eye if you shine the light on their living, jokes and everyday living. Whether you like it or not, there is a strong vein of comedy and living which revolves around the choices Austrians made during the 1930-40s. This is only natural. I think it is healthy. How do you expect your "volk" to digest Adolf Hitler? Is there no room for interpretation? If Harald "Hitler" Zenz wanted to dress as a real Nazi - he could have. The most troubling part of this story is that Austria just banned another "Ethnic Dress" last week....
Obviously, If you do not keep up with current events, you would not know that Austria banned the Muslim Burqua. If we keep going on Austria´s current fashion "laws" - WE SHOULD ALL BE NAKED ALL THE TIME! I would have no problem with that :)
well... Except my fur coat in Winter which might put me in jail depending on if the Judge is a Vegan :)
In closing, I hate to point out the other Austrian look which is 100% State approved and sponsored.
There is not much more to write about the enigma of what is now branded as "Herald Hitler". In any case, he is welcome to Northern Savonia, most namely Kuopio to dress as he likes - and is more than welcome to order Finnish Mineral Water.
The world is waiting on baIting breath to see if his case gets dropped