A group of street artists is objecting to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s U.S. visit with posters depicting her as a Hitler-friendly monkey executioner whose immigration policies, they say, have imported a sexual-assault crime wave from the Middle East.
The art guerrillas, known as the Art Wing Conspiracy, plastered a neighborhood near Los Angeles overnight with posters critical of the Volkswagen corporation and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is meeting with President Donald Trump this afternoon.
The project’s creators say they oppose Merkel’s visit to the White House and want Trump to take a hard line against Germany on tariffs – particularly those that might hurt Volkswagen.
‘Auf wiedersehen, monkeys,’ one poster reads. It features a Photoshopped image of Merkel in a Nazi uniform, pushing a button while a primate peers out of the glass window of a gas chamber.
This poster was plastered overnight on a traffic signal control box in Van Vuys, California, across the street from a Volkswagen dealership. It depicts German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a Nazi uniform, gassing a monkey
Multiple copies of this poster were plastered around other neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area, depicting Merkel as chummy with Adolf Hitler and blaming her for an crime wave linked to immigrants mocked as ‘rape-fugees’ by right-wing politicians
Merkel is at the White House on Friday, meeting with President Donald Trump, and import tariffs on automobiles – including Volkswagens – is certain to be a point of contention
VW admitted this year that it authorized and supervised a study in which monkeys were forced to inhale exhaust fumes from one of its automobiles.
The German government, along with BMW and Daimler, have condemned the research. The two other car companies helped finance research that included the monkey study but said they had no knowledge of its particulars.
A second poster looks more like a conventional VW advertisement, picturing a driver and three passengers inside a car.
But the back-seat riders are Merkel and Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.
‘Importing good times (and rape-fugees) since 1937, it reads, over a VW logo.
Volkswagen was founded in 1937.
One of the artwork’s producers told DailyMail.com on Friday that the poor-taste jab was meant to be shocking, and to draw attention to massive numbers of asylum-seekers that Merkel’s government has accepted for resettlement in recent years.
Between 2015 and 2017, Germany re-homed more than 1.35 million refugees, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
German media have reported a dramatic increase since 2015 in sexual assaults, specifically those involving groups of men.
Trump has been cordial to Merkel but nowhere near as effusive with his praise as he was toward French President Emmanuel Macron earlier in the week
The mock-VW ad reads: ‘Importing good ties (and rape-fugees) since 1937.
The reference to monkeys came from the scandal that erupted this year when VW admitted funding research that tested the impact of automobile emissions on primates
Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West took part in a march on January 9, 2016 following about 1,200 sexual assaults on women during 2015 New year’s Eve celebrations
Police there estimate that on New Year’s Eve 2015 alone, there were 1,200 sexual assaults involving 2,000 men.
Hundreds of identified suspects were foreign nationals. In Cologne, local police reported that many were men of ‘Arab or North African appearance,’ sparking fears of a crime wave brought to Germany by the new arrivals.
Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office told the BBC and other outlets that the attacks resembled ‘a phenomenon known in some Arab countries as taharrush jamai’ – or ‘group sexual harassment.’
The term ‘rapefugees’ was coined in 2016 by Lutz Bachmann, a founder of the German anti-Islam organization Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West.
Bachmann was ejected from the group after he described immigrants as ‘dirt’ and ‘livestock’ on social media, praised the Ku Klux Klan and posted photos of himself as Hitler.
The far-right National Democratic Party of Germany also used the term ‘rapefugees’ in some of its election posters in 2016.
Reacquired Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars sit in a desert graveyard near Victorville, California on March 28, 2018. Volkswagen has paid more than $7.4 billion to buy back about 350,000 vehicles
Germany last year recorded its largest drop in crime in a quarter-century – nearly 10 percent – with police saying ‘a good part’ of it is linked to a dramatic decrease in the number of refugee admissions.
A government-directed study released in January showed the violent crime rate had jumped in 2015 and 2016. Researchers attributed more than 90 percent of that to young male refugees.
The identities of the Art Wing Conspiracy members are something of a mystery. Shortly after this story was published, its Twitter account was switched to private.
But still on public display was the group’s header image – a fighter jet dropping bombs with the names ‘Harambe’ and ‘Pepe’ written on them. Both names are tied to Internet memes associated with the ‘alt-right’ American political movement, whose outer margins include white supremacists.
The group’s Twitter profile contains just one sentence – ‘Politics is downstream from culture’ – a line made famous by the late conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart.
Meddling in last year’s German elections was attributed to alt-right interlopers in the U.S., causing heartburn for Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union party.
One analysis of 300 million tweets, conducted by the Technical University of Munich, concluded that Germany was a year-long hotspot for the ‘#AltRight’ hashtag on Twitter.
Merkel’s openness to refugee resettlement, in particular, has made criticizing her a near-sacrament among Americans on the far fringes of the right wing.
That group behind Friday’s posters protected its Twitter account after this article was first published, but left up a piece of artwork that depicts bombs being dropped with the alt-right-meme names ‘Harambe’ and ‘Pepe’ visible
The source involved with the production of Friday’s shocking posters, who shared the art with DailyMail.com on that condition that he would not be identified, said: ‘The idea is to go after German industry like Volkswagen and hope that Trump continues to put tariffs on them, in light of them cheating on the emissions scandal.’
That was a reference to a 2015 scandal sparked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s revelation that VW had installed devices and software in diesel-powered cars sold worldwide, in order to hide high emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases.
Nearly a half-million cars were affected in the U.S. alone, and 11 million globally.
Last year a federal judge found that VW had purposely tried to cheat on U.S. government tests, and imposed a $2.7 billion criminal fine.