On Saturday morning, a 41-year-old American tourist was beaten up by a passerby after giving a Nazi salute outside of a café in Dresden, Germany. According to police, the victim of the attack was “severely drunk.”
Day drinking in the liberal Neustadt district of Dresden, the American tourist suffered minor injuries as a result of the attack. The man’s attacker fled the scene before police arrived.
Known as a social hub for students, the Neustadt district is particularly averse to inflammatory, offensive, or even mildly controversial speech. It’s unclear if the tourist actually believes in fascist causes or if his drunken stupor compelled him to mindlessly Heil Hitler.
Regardless, police are investigating the victim of the physical attack for giving the Nazi salute, a form of speech that is illegal in post-Third Reich Germany.
“Germany outlawed the salute after World War II, along with Holocaust denial and other symbols and signals associated with the Nazis,” reports The Washington Post. “A conviction can carry a prison sentence of up to three years, although courts often impose fines instead.”
German case law indicates that the American tourist will likely get fined. The incident comes one week after Germany fined two Chinese tourists $600 each for giving the Nazi salute outside of Berlin’s historically-wrought Reichstag.
In contrast to America’s strong protections for free speech, Germany has codified hate speech laws to prevent Nazism from ever re-emerging.