MOPO24DD/Twitter

Lutz Bachmann, founder of the anti-Islamist group Pegida ("Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West") has resigned after a photo of him dressed as Adolf Hitler went viral.

Pegida gained notoriety after staging a protest in the German city of Dresden in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting. The event drew upwards of 25,000 people and has since inspired Pegida offshoots across Europe. The group believes in the preservation of German Judeo-Christian values and advocates for a stricter refugee policy. As a result, Pegida has drawn parallels to the Nazi party.

Advertisement

Those comparisons became harder to dismiss after a photo of Bachmann sporting a Hitler mustache and hairstyle were published by multiple German tabloids.

Bachmann initially shrugged off the photo and claimed that it was satire, posting a screenshot of the film "The Great Dictator" (in which Charlie Chaplin plays a Hitler-like dictator) with the caption, "He can do satire, Lutz can't!" to Facebook.

Advertisement

This didn't appear to appease his critics, and Bachmann officially stepped away from Pegida the same day the extremist group was planning its largest protest to date in Liepzig.

"I apologize sincerely to all citizens who feel offended by my posts," Bachmann wrote on Pegida's official Facebook page. "I'm sorry that i have harmed the interests of our movement."

Beyond damaging his group's reputation, Bachmann is currently under investigation by Dresden authorities.

"The suspicion is of incitement to popular hatred," a spokesman for state prosecutors said.

Fidel Martinez is an editor at Fusion.net. He's also a Texas native and a lifelong El Tri fan.