Brazil's secretary of culture was fired after using phrases from an infamous speech by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels in a recent video, in which one of Adolf Hitler's favorite operas also played in the background.
President Jair Bolsonaro announced that Roberto Alvim would be fired from his position on Friday after protests from politicians and organizations across the country.
In a video posted on social media announcing a national art award, Alvim invoked ties between art and nationalism.
"The Brazilian art of the next decade will be heroic and national," said Alvim, adding that it would be linked to the aspirations of the people ", or else it will be nothing".
Touching the bottom of the video is opera music Lohengrin, composed by Richard Wagner, who is often associated with Nazism. It was also a favorite of Hitler.
Alvim's phrasing was eerily similar to a speech by Goebbels from the 1930s.
“German art in the next decade will be heroic, made of steel, but romantic, factual without sentimentality; will be nationalistic, with great depth of feeling; it will be binding and unite or cease to exist, ”said Goebbels.
After parallels to Goebbels' speech were discovered, Alvim gave an interview insisting that he was not a Nazi, denying that he was consciously quoting the leader of the Third Reich and claiming that he accidentally plagiarized the words.
"This phrase fell on my table, I didn't know it was from Goebbels and I rewrote it," said Alvim to Brazilian broadcaster Rádio Gaúcha, adding that it was a "rhetorical coincidence".
The incident involves broader accusations against Brazil's far-right president for alleged fascist tendencies. Bolsonaro praised the former country military dictatorship, opposes immigration and made disparaging comments about indigenous groups, women and the LGBTQ community.
In the video, which has already been removed from Twitter, Alvim is sitting next to a Brazilian flag and under a framed photo of Bolsonaro.
After being published, Alvim's video was renounced throughout Brazil.
Conib, the Brazilian Israeli Confederation, issued a statement calling the use of a Nazi speech "unacceptable".
"Emulating the vision of Hitler's Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, is a scary sign of his vision of culture, which must be combated and contained," said Conib. “Goebbels was one of the leaders of the Nazi regime, which used propaganda and culture to distort the hearts and minds of Germans and Nazi allies to the point of committing the Holocaust, the extermination of 6 million Jews in Europe, among many others. victims. "
The German embassy in Brazil also issued a statement denouncing any indulgence of Nazi ideology.
“The period of national socialism and the darkest chapter in German history brought infinite suffering to humanity. Germany maintains its responsibility, ”said the embassy. "We are opposed to any attempt to trivialize or even glorify the era of National Socialism."
And Rodrigo Maia, president of the lower house of Brazil, wrote on friday that Alvim “went beyond all limits” and that “the Brazilian government should urgently remove him from office”.
Bolsonaro also said on Friday that his government "repudiates totalitarian and genocidal ideologies".
Tatiana Farah and Guilherme Lúcio Rocha contributed to the reporting of this article.