The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party which has 18 seats in the Greek Parliament has denounced as trickery a documentary filmed in Athens and aired on Britain’s Channel 4 on March 6 which showed its members spewing hatred toward immigrants and referring to them as “subhuman.”
One party backer, Alexandros Plomaritis, stated that immigrants should be turned into soap and lampshades like Holocaust victims of concentration camps but used only to clean roads and said, “We are ready to turn on the ovens,” a reference to the ovens at Nazi camps used to exterminate Jews in WWII.
Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris described the video as “tragicomic” and the opinions expressed as “laughable.”
Kasidiaris, a Member of Parliament who is awaiting trial on charges he was part of a 2007 assault on a student, told SKAI TVthat the film’s crew had failed to officially identify themselves during the interviews and he condemned acts of violence.
Later in the day, a Greek prosecutor said he would investigate the documentary but there was no reaction from Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who has largely been silent on Golden Dawn while adopting many of its anti-immigrant beliefs, despite criticism of the extremists from NGO’s, human rights activists and Jewish organizations against Golden Dawn’s openly anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, ultra-religious, jingoistic platform.
A Golden Dawn member in the video also said Greece should re-open concentration camps on islands to house Leftists as did the military junta from 1967-74 whose reign is revered by Golden Dawn.
Shot by Konstantinos Georgousis, a student at London’s National Film and Television School, The Cleaners follows Golden Dawn members in central Athens. In the film, party members talk openly about beating up illegal immigrants, a frequent charge that party officials have denied previously.
“I was terrified that these members were proud to express their extreme ideas during campaigning openly in public. I was shocked by their hostility and by the way they treated immigrants in the Athenian squares,” said Georgousis, writing about his experiences while on location. He also noted that at times he was “concerned by the level of support from the Greek people.”
Speaking to Channel 4 News New Democracy MP Andonis Georgiadis said that the opinions expressed by Golden Dawn supporters in the documentary were not “the opinion of the majority of the Greek people.”
Deeming the exreme right party “a disgrace for our society and our democracy,” Georgiadis added that Greek society was under major pressure and that this prompted some voters to cast their ballot for Golden Dawn. “As my country faces financial and social ruin, Golden Dawn has become the prime outlet for public anger,” noted Georgousis.