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Swiss politician says Hitler ‘can’t have been so bad,’ sparks fury

Thomas Keller has since apologized for his remarks, saying he was “clearly against racism and glorifying anything to do with abusing power, including guiding a people toward slaughtering others.”

A Swiss politician is facing expulsion from the country’s center-right Conservative Democratic party after he said that late Nazi leader Adolf Hitler “can’t have been that infinitely bad.”

In an online discussion about a Swiss policeman who was promoted despite espousing admiration for Germany’s fascist World War II-era leader, Thomas Keller said he believes “today’s historical view of Hitler is rather one-sided.” He said he didn’t see Hitler as an evil tyrant and dictator, and that all nations that fought in the war had “blood on their hands.”

According to Swiss news platform SWI, the Conservative Democratic Party on Tuesday began proceedings to expel Keller from its ranks, Tuesday. Party leader Martin Landolt, who drew criticism himself when, in 2016, he tweeted a picture of a Swiss cross transforming into a swastika, said he was “outraged” by Keller’s “abominable” comments.

The Foreign Ministry welcomed the move to expel Keller, which it said reflected the Swiss political system’s lack of tolerance for expressions of support for the Nazis.

Keller has since apologized for his remarks, telling the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper that he was “clearly against racism and glorifying anything to do with abusing power, including  guiding a people toward slaughtering others.” He said that he regretted the “politically very, very dangerous” tweet.

In an interview with the newspaper 20 Minutes, Keller seemed to say he regretted making the comments on social media because he had underestimated the blowback he would receive.

“I have never been a Holocaust-denier, nor do I understand people like that,” he said, but then noted the basic Christian tenet that there was good in every person, and said Hitler’s had just not been found yet.

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