Springtime for Hitler

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What is it with Austrian Nazis, neo- or otherwise …

The successor of the Austrian far-right leader Jörg Haider was dismissed yesterday after he revealed a “special” relationship “far beyond” friendship with his former mentor.

In emotional interviews with the national broadcaster and a tabloid newspaper Stefan Petzner spoke openly about his affair with Haider, who died at the age of 58 in a high-speed car crash after heavy drinking session at a gay club this month. Haider’s party, the Alliance for the Future of Austria, captured 11 per cent of the vote in national elections last month .

“He was the man of my life. Our relationship went far beyond friendship,” Mr Petzner, 27, said after only a week in the job, adding that Haider’s wife, Claudia, 52, “did not object” to their relationship.

Mr Petzner dropped out of university when he met Haider at a party. At that time he was working as a journalist, writing about cosmetic treatments.

Local papers said that, on the night of his accident, Haider and Mr Petzner had a row at a magazine launch party. Haider left in a hurry and drove to a gay club in Klagenfurt, his home town, where he drank vodka with male escorts. The reports said that he was hardly able to walk to his car.

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