Germany's Pegida boss Lutz Bachmann in hot water over Hitler photo

Guy Bentley
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Lutz Bachmann, featured in the center and right, faces backlash from co-organiser Rene Jahn on the left (Source: Getty, Jurgen Mannel)

The leader of Germany's leading anti-Islam movement Pegida, Lutz Bachmann, has landed himself in some hot water after a photo of him emerged posing with a Hitler moustache as well as the Nazi leader's notorious fringe.

The graphic designer claimed the picture, which was splashed on the front page of German tabloid Bild, was a joke. The photo had been put on Facebook and was taken to mark the release of an audio version of a satirical novel about Hitler called Er ist Wieder Da ("He's Back), according to Bachmann.

Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Bachmann said:

I had the picture taken at a hairdresser's for the publication of the audio-book of Er ist Wieder Da and Christoph Maria Herbst [a well-known German comedian] posted it on Pinwand [a picture-sharing site]. You have to joke about yourself sometimes.

Er ist Wieder Da is set to hit the big screen and was published in 2012. The book has been a best-seller and has no connection with the far right.

Bachmann has deleted his Facebook profile, but it is alleged he posted a host of racist comments. Shortly after posting the picture of himself dolled up as Adolf Hitler, Bachmann is alleged to have posted an image of the Ku Klux Klan, adding "three Ks A Day Keeps Minorities Away".

Pegida, which stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, has come under fierce criticism after it organised a series of demonstrations across Germany.

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