Holocaust museum reacts to American white nationalist speech: 'It began with words'

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The Holocaust Memorial Museum in the USA has warned a pro-Donald Trump speech made at a white nationalist convention is reminiscent of the rise of Adolf Hitler.

National Policy Institute (NPI) leader Richard Spencer was greeted with Nazi salutes at a meeting when he said "hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory" in a speech which also had references to Nazi propaganda and white supremacist ideology.

In response, the museum released a statement, which called for Americans to confront hate speech, saying: "The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words."

It went on: "The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech."

Hitler giving Nazi salute
The white nationalist think-tank gave Nazi salutes at the conference (AP)

The museum condemned Spencer's speech as "hateful rhetoric" and said it "closely echoes" the views of Hitler, particularly its implication history is a "racial struggle for survival". The museum said it was "deeply alarmed" by the rhetoric, which was held at the Ronald Reagan Building, just blocks away from the museum.

The statement said Spencer "implied that the media was protecting Jewish interests" and "made several direct and indirect references to Jews and other minorities, often alluding to Nazism".

"The targeting of Jews was central to Nazi racist ideology," said the museum. "By the end of World War II, the Germans and their collaborators had murdered six million Jews and millions of other innocent civilians, many of whom were targeted for racial reasons."

It added: "His statement that white people face a choice of 'conquer or die' closely echoes Adolf Hitler's view of Jews and that history is a racial struggle for survival."

Spencer's speech
Spencer's speech was greeted with Nazi salutes (Youtube/The Atlantic)

Spencer denounced the "mainstream media" for their coverage of Trump, even calling them "Lugenpresse" - a German word meaning "lying press" which was popularly used by the Nazis.

A statement from Trump's team released a statement on Monday saying: "President-elect Trump has continued to denounce racism of any kind and he was elected because he will be a leader for every American."

Footage of Spencer's speech was released by The Atlantic, who are making a documentary on the NPI leader.