Hitler remarks ‘misunderstood’ says Formula One’s Ecclestone
Berlin -- Formula One commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone, said Monday his comments praising Adolf Hitler were misunderstood as a top Jewish group called for a boycott of the upcoming German grand prix.
On Saturday, the 78-year-old Ecclestone caused uproar after saying in an interview with British newspaper the Times that Hitler was a man who "was able to get things done."
But he told German mass circulation daily Bild: "This was all a huge misunderstanding."
"I did not put Hitler up as a good example, but I simply pointed out that before his terrible crimes, he had acted successfully against unemployment and the economic crisis," Ecclestone said.
He added it was never his intention to insult any community.
"Some of my closest friends are Jewish," he said.
Nevertheless, Germany’s top Jewish group called for teams to boycott the upcoming German grand prix in protest at his comments.
"No team should work with him any more – a boycott would be more than appropriate," said Dieter Graumann, the deputy head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, in an interview with business daily Handelsblatt.
"The man is either completely stupid or unbelievably malicious — probably even both," said Graumann.
Graumann said a planned meeting between Ecclestone and German politicians on the sidelines of the German grand prix must now be cancelled.
"One must not negotiate with Fascists. One must condemn them and spurn them," Graumann said.
Ecclestone has also faced several calls to quit after his comments.
The German grand prix is due to take place on Sunday.