Wehrmacht, the crossover/thrash metal band from Oregon, has distanced itself from a T-shirt controversially worn by the head of the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, Plamen Haralampiev, an appointee of the far-right United Patriots minority partner in government.
A photograph of Haralampiev wearing the T-shirt prompted the Shalom Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria to call on the government to take action, saying that through his apparel, Haralampiev was “expressing the values of Nazism, in this case the Nazi defence forces at the time of the Second World War”.
The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1946.
Haralampiev scoffed at the criticism, dismissing it as a “misunderstanding and nonsense” and saying that the T-shirt was related to the band from Oregon.
He was backed by Krassimir Karakachanov, United Patriots co-leader and Defence Minister in Bulgaria’s coalition government.
“Where do you see on this shirt a fascist symbol? Are you seeing a broken cross somewhere? Does that mean that the word ‘Wehrmacht’ should not be written anywhere in textbooks? It is obvious what this is about – a rock band,” Karakachanov told Nova Televizia.
Boyan Yurukov took up the matter with a representative of the band, who replied: “We had nothing to do with this shirt. Our stuff involves beer. We don’t endorse this shirt. Thank you for bringing this to our attention”.
Notably, the logo of the name on the T-shirt that Haralampiev wore does not resemble any of the logos used by the Portland, Oregon, band.
Wehrmacht’s Wikipedia entry notes that the band does not pursue Nazi ideals, and is against the persecution of anyone. The band’s Facebook page, in turn, is devoted mainly to its activities and, indeed, beer. Among the album titles of the band, which in the 1990s briefly renamed itself Macht, was one called Biermacht (beer power).
The shirt as worn by Haralampiev.