It was supposed to be a joke from man to man, from a Bavarian arch-conservative to his like-minded compatriots. One of these brusque and disdainful jokes cracker-barrel men in traditional green tracht garments exchange over a half-liter beer at their regular’s Thursday pub table in a remote mountain village.
But the leader of Christian Social Union and Federal Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, said it during a speech addressing a crowd ahead of the Bavarian elections on Sunday.
“Bavarians ruled Greece for a time. Maybe it would have been better had it not been temporary,“ Seehofer said in an effort to prove that Bavaria was …cosmopolitan.
The anti-migration CSU chief was apparently anticipating for a loud laughter.
It didn’t come.
Most likely the crowd gathered to listen to Seehofer knew better.
They knew better than Seehofer, that the flabby Bavarian Prince Otto who was planted by the Great Powers in Greece and became the first King of modern Greece in 1832 was kicked out of the country and sent to exile in his home country by his own Greek subjects.
Seehofer’s remark was first made public the Politico’s chief correspondent for Europe.
— Matthew Karnitschnig (@MKarnitschnig) October 8, 2018
The reaction was quick.
Yanis Varoufakis cited a quote from a German poem in the 19th century, a political slogan used also by Kaiser Wilhelm and the Nazis.
— Yanis Varoufakis (@yanisvaroufakis) October 9, 2018
“Many already believed ‘The German spirit will heal the world’ and they were always wrong,” Varoufakis wrote in German.
Others connected Seehofer’s remark to the occupation of Greece by the Nazis in WWII.
Irrelevant of the historical reference, several Greeks commented “that’s why we always hated Germans.”
And some approached Seehofer’s “joke” with an attitude of nonchalance.
You can kick Nazism out of a German, but never his sense of occupationhttps://t.co/wVx0y67zqR
— Thalion (@Thalion_1) October 9, 2018