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‘Sieg Heil’ chant at Munich beer hall draws police attention

Guests at the Bavarian brewery were outraged by the banned Nazi slogan

File photo: Beer mugs from the Augustiner Brau brewery in , , September 22, 2019. ©  Sean Gallup/Getty Images

German police were dispatched to a Bavarian brewery after complaints that a group of visitors there were chanting the banned Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil,” according to local media.

The incident reportedly happened on Tuesday evening at the beer garden of the Augustinerkeller, the oldest brewery in Munich. Witnesses told police that a “dozen” young men, between the ages of 20 and 30, were sitting at a table when one of them stood up and gave a speech.

At the end of the speech, the man shouted “Sieg” (German for “victory”) and the group responded with “heil,” which was then repeated several times.

The call-and-response phrase was used by the Nazis during the Third Reich and was outlawed after Adolf Hitler’s defeat in 1945. Using it in modern-day Germany could lead to criminal prosecution.

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According to the public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, the appalled beer-hall guests called the police and prevented the speech offenders from leaving the premises. While the police confirmed a “major operation” was carried out in response to the complaint, no arrests were reported.

“We learned of the incident with dismay and disgust,” a spokesman for the Brewery told the outlet Bild Zeitung. 

“We reject such right-wing extremist activities in every respect. The Augustiner brewery stands for an open, tolerant and democratic world view,” the spokesman added. “Right-wing extremist activities must always be dealt with immediately and consistently.”

Hitler’s rise to power in Germany began with the ‘beer hall putsch’ of 1923, when Nazi Party stormtroopers took over the Munich brewery of Buergerbraukeller and marched to a military monument in the city center. In the ensuing clash with police, four officers, 15 Nazis and one bystander were killed. Hitler was arrested two days later and charged with treason.

Sentenced to five years in Landsberg Prison by the Weimar Republic authorities, Hitler served only nine months of his sentence. While imprisoned, he wrote his political manifesto, ‘Mein Kampf’ (My Struggle).

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