AMSTERDAM (AP) — A bronze statute of an athlete saluting with an outstretched arm reminiscent of the gesture made infamous at rallies in Nazi Germany is to be removed from outside Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium because the salute has links to fascism, a spokeswoman for the stadium said Friday.
The 3-meter (10-foot) tall statue was placed outside the stadium for the 1928 Summer Games that were staged in the Dutch capital. It has no links to Nazism, but many passersby were shocked by its likeness to the Nazi greeting.
An investigation launched by a foundation that manages the stadium found that the salute was used at the Paris Olympics in 1924 and that, around the same time, Benito Mussolini’s fascist movement in Italy also started using the same salute.
“The greeting comes from a fascist era. The statue is intended as an expression of a sporting salute. But now we know that the salute has direct links back to fascism,” stadium spokeswoman Kim Tyrakis said.
The stadium has applied to Amsterdam municipality to remove the statute, by Dutch sculptor Gerarda Rueb, from its pedestal outside the heritage-listed stadium. It will be moved indoors and given “a clear explanation” of its history.
The International Olympic Committee had no immediate comment.
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