No, these people with Nazi tattoos are not Ukrainian refugees

·4-min read
© The Observers

A new hoax has been targeting Ukrainian refugees. These two men covered in Nazi tattoos, wearing beach shorts, have been presented as Ukrainian refugees in Croatia by pro-Russian Twitter accounts. In reality, the images show Hungarian members of a neo-Nazi group.

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Pro-Russian accounts shared photos of two men covered in Nazi tattoos. According to them, they are Ukrainian refugees in Croatia.

However, in reality, the man with a shaved head is a Hungarian member of the neo-Nazi movement "Blood and Honour", and he recently visited Croatia for one of the group's rallies. The other man has not yet been identified.

Fact check in detail

According to posts circulating on Twitter, photos of two men covered in Nazi tattoos are supposedly refugees from Ukraine in Croatia.

The photos show two men covered in tattoos with Nazi symbols, from the front and from behind. The man on the left has a shaved head and a tattoo of Adolf Hitler on his back. The other individual has a cap, a beard and tattoos of swastikas, wolves and runes on his back. They are smiling on the beach in swimming shorts.

The two images were shared on Twitter on 16 July and they have since been viewed several thousand times.

The hoax was shared by Russian-speaking accounts, like this one, where it garnered over a thousand views, and on this account, which has already published false information about Ukraine in recent months.

A Hungarian neo-Nazi group

A search for "beach" and "Nazi" on Twitter reveals the photos on the Twitter account of "AntifaVjesnik", a Croatian website that claims to be anti-fascist and regularly publishes articles about far-right movements.

The Twitter account says the photos were taken at the Morski Prasac beach bar in Rijeka, a town on the Croatian coast.

On Google Maps, photos of the bar "Morski Prasac" posted by customers confirm the location.

"Antifa Vjesnik" was also able to identify the man with the shaved head. The site published an article explaining that he is a member of the neo-Nazi group Blood and Honor, named Matu, and that he is a bass player for the Hungarian band Fehér Vihar.

Blood and Honor is a far-right group, which promotes neo-Nazi music. Made up of European nationalists and skinheads, it has a branch in Rijeka, Croatia. The movement was banned in France in 2019.

A gathering between members of the group is also organised every year in Rijeka, at the end of June or beginning of July in honour of one of their deceased members. The Blood and Honour Hungary's Telegram channel published a message about the group's annual gathering in Croatia on 2 July. According to the channel, members came from Croatia, Germany, England, Hungary, Slovenia and Switzerland. There was no mention of Ukraine.

The name of the music group, Fehér Vihar, provides more information about the man with the shaved head, called Matu. The Hungarian far-right website Nacionalista Zona published photos of him playing bass guitar at a concert in 2018. In this photo, also from 2018, the tattoo above his eyebrow arch is recognisable. The whole of his jaw, however, is not yet tattooed, unlike the photo circulating in 2022.

According to a website called "Rate Your Music", the bassist's name is Matu.

The website "Antifa Vjesnik" also published photos of the man, where he can be seen participating in a tug-of-war in the Hungarian capital Budapest on 15 August 2020.

According to the Hungarian website "Net", the Rijeka police were alerted about the presence of the two men at the Morski Prasac bar on 13 July and so they went to investigate on the same day. The police were told by the bar staff that the men had been on the beach ten days earlier, in early July.

The Observers have not yet been able to identify the other man in the photo, with a beard and cap.

To sum up

The images taken in Rijeka, Croatia, do not show Ukrainian refugees, but Hungarians attending a gathering organised by the neo-Nazi group "Blood and Honour".

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, France 24's Observers have looking into several false images that claim to denounce the behaviour of "Ukrainian refugees" welcomed in European Union countries.

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