Arnold and the Nazis

In contemporary America, “Nazi” and “fascist” are meaningless terms of abuse. Liberals are now denouncing Arnold Schwarzenegger as a purported Nazi sympathizer–mainly because of his German name and Austrian origins–and, as in the photo below, depicting him as Hitler.
When Schwarzenegger was growing up in Austria, “Nazi” wasn’t just an epithet. There really were neo-Nazis who took to the streets much as their fathers had done thirty years earlier. Now, several individuals who knew Arnold as a teenager have come to his defense, pointing out that he not only denounced Nazis–easy to do when, as in America, they do not exist–but actually battled them.
Arnold’s former trainer, who still lives in Graz, says that “the young Schwarzenegger participated at least twice in organized disruptions of neo-Nazi gatherings near his hometown of Graz during the 1960s.” The trainer, Kurt Marnul, says: “He was so outraged – so filled with rage against the Nazi regime….It’s absurd. It’s 100 percent wrong that he could have ever liked Hitler.”
Also defending Arnold was Alfred Gerstl, a former leader of Austria’s parliament, who told the Jewish-oriented newsmagazine NU that Schwarzenegger and some fellow bodybuilders “hunted down the Nazis” who threatened the office of a teaching institute run by an anti-fascist.
Now, physical prowess is admittedly not a material qualification for public office. But isn’t it fair to respect, however grudgingly, someone who, when totalitarians tried to bully their way back into power, was willing to put his fists where his convictions were? Thankfully, the only totalitarians who take to America’s streets are “anti-globalization” and “anti-war” protesters who are less than formidable. But if our peace were threatened by ominous forces as Austria’s was less than a generation ago, it is a safe bet that Gray Davis and Cruz Bustamante would be nowhere to be found.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that they are unfit to be Governor of California. But there is something particularly despicable about labeling as a “Nazi” a man who actually fought real, not imaginary, fascists.


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