Friday, 07 June 2019
A city councillor of the far-right party Vlaams Belang in Stabroek, Jef Leffelaer, has been discredited after he openly expressed his sympathy for Nazi songs and propaganda online.
Leffelaer (62) was elected councillor in Stabroek in October 2018. In the meantime, his page of liked videos on YouTube has since been removed or protected, but the list included the ‘Alte Kameraden Mars’ (played in German concentration camps during the WWII), ‘Kom in’t Bruine Legioen’ and ‘Lied der Flämische Freiwillige’ (sung by the Flemish Waffen-SS).
In the songs, the Waffen-SS and collaboration with the Nazis are praised, but Leffelaer does not see any harm in them. “I like marching music, the is no harm in that,” Leffelaer said to Het Nieuwsblad. “But I can understand if people do not understand that.”
When asked if he could explain his comment ‘they fought for an ideal, still ours’ that he left under one of the songs on YouTube, Leffelaer said: “That is something from five years ago. I am a Flemish nationalist and I have been called a collaborator all my life. An ugly word that actually just means ‘working together’.”
The Vlaams Belang department in Stabroek is by no means happy with this information about its party member. “I cannot support that,” said Departmental Director Victor Dieltjes to Het Nieuwsblad. “I will speak to Jef personally about this, but it is up to our chairman Tom Van Grieken to see what we should do with this. Right now, the party is in the middle of tough government negotiations, and many people are going far to discredit us,” he added.
Klaas Slootmans, spokesperson for Vlaams Belang, said that the party has already taken a closer look at the case, and also has had contact with Leffelaer already. “All of this is about likes and a comment from five years ago. He apologised on behalf of the party, and he distanced himself from it. It also happened before he was a city councillor. We have to place it in context, this is just a storm in a teacup,” he said to Het Nieuwsblad.
The Brussels Times