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German Far-Right Leader Quits After Photo Surfaces of Him Posing as Hitler

Daniel Koehler: German Right-Wing Extremists 'Inspired by U.S.' 0:48

The leader of the German right-wing movement PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) resigned his post on Wednesday following claims that he posed as Adolf Hitler in a Facebook post last year with the caption, "He's back."

The photo depicts Pegida founder Lutz Bachmann, 41, with his hair combed straight and a mustache resembling Hitler's. German newspapers featured the image on their front pages.

“I sincerely apologize to all citizens who were offended by my posts," Bachmann said in a statement posted on the group's page. "I am sorry that my actions hurt the interests of our movement, and I accept the consequences.”

The display of Nazi symbols is against the law in Germany.

Earlier Wednesday, Bachmann told the German publication Bild he took the photo while at the hairdresser due to the release of the satirical audiobook about Hitler by Timur Vermes called “Er Ist Wieder Da,” or “He Is Back.”

“You have to be able to sometimes make fun of yourself,” he told the newspaper.

Founded last fall, the PEGIDA movement has brought thousands into the streets of several cities to protest Germany's growing immigrant population.

"Lutz Bachmann has earned many merits at PEGIDA. He brought the movement to the streets and in the media, and managed along with all of us, to mobilize and inspire tens of thousands," Kathrin Oertel, another group leader, said in the statement. "We deeply lament this development."

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—Becky Bratu