A doctored photo that depicts Romanian President Klaus Iohannis as Nazi leader Adolf Hitler has been criticized by a Jewish lawmaker and the German ambassador to Romania.
The photo posted on Friday on social media by Social Democrat Aurelian Badulescu, a former deputy mayor of Bucharest, was praised by his friends and supporters.
The post claimed the Romanian president wanted to „destroy the national identity” and “resurrect international Marxism.”
But Silviu Vexler, a lawmaker in the Romanian Parliament, said he was „disgusted” by the comparison and comment calling it “impermissible and absurd” to compare the president with “one of the greatest criminals in the history of mankind.”
„As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Iohannis is the exact opposite of a person who has Nazi and or anti-Semitic beliefs,” he said, mentioning his support for the Jewish community and fight against anti-Semitism.
Klaus Iohannis is an ethnic German who was mayor of the Transylvanian city of Sibiu before he was elected president in 2014. He used to be chairman of the Liberal Party and is known for his pro-European and pro-Western views.
The Social Democratic Party, currently in opposition, has become more populist in recent years. It is socially conservative and bristles at criticism from Brussels.
In recent years, some Social Democrats have played on Mr. Iohannis German roots and suggested that he is a Nazi, earning rebukes from the Jewish and German communities.
Germany’s ambassador to Romania also issued a statement on its Facebook page on Saturday in support of Silviu Vexler.
“I am grateful to (him) for very clearly pointing out how absolutely unacceptable it is to make comparisons of this kind between (the president) and the perpetrator of one of the biggest crimes in the history of mankind,” Ambassador Cord Meier-Klodt
“We owe it to the memory of those who suffered appallingly and we always totally reject these cheap comparisons,” the Ambassador wrote.