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Brexit Party MEP promotes conspiracy theory about “Nazi background” of EU founding figure

Brexit Party MEP Lance Forman has promoted a conspiracy video alleging that Walter Hallstein, the first president of the Commission of the European Economic Community, had a hidden Nazi past.

Forman shared the video, presented by the executive director of the Dr Rath Health Foundation, Paul Anthony Taylor, and tweeted: “On Rememberance [sic] Sunday I urge all my followers please to invest 10 minutes in watching this video about the Nazi background of the EUs [sic] first a [sic] president and how it has shaped the EU.”

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In the 14-minute video, released on 3rd June, 2016, Taylor espouses the key ideas of the discredited conspiracy theory. He claims that Hallstein’s membership of civil judicial societies, which were taken over by the Nazis after they came to power, prove his support for the Nazi regime and ideology. He describes Hallstein as a technocrat who took the work he did for the Nazi regime and applied it to the creation of the EU and its predecessors.

The suggestion that Hallstein was a supporter or even a member of the Nazi Party has long been present in right-wing circles across Europe. Loony Brexiteer website Unity News Network shared the claims earlier this year, and the EU’s anti-disinformation campaign, EU vs. Disinfo, noted prior coverage of the conspiracy theory in Slovakian and Czech press. 

But Hallstein was never a member of the Nazi Party. His biography notes that “his attitude to National Socialism was hostile, and he even cultivated contacts with declared opponents of the system.” In 1942, Hallstein was drafted into the German army, before being captured by American troops in 1944.

The Dr Rath Health Foundation was set up by Dr Matthias Rath, an infamous German/Dutch health practitioner and vitamin salesman who claimed his vitamins could cure HIV/AIDS, in addition to heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. He also ran illegal health trials in South Africa.

Forman was either unaware of the background of the Dr Rath Health Foundation, or simply doesn’t care. Either way, we recommend that the Brexit Party MEP does his research to avoid sharing wild conspiracy theories in future.

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