German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has accused Angela Merkel of replacing the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust with their "worst enemies," apparently referring to the German leader’s policy of accepting refugees from mostly Muslim countries.
"One cannot - even if there are decades between them – kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place," designer Lagerfeld told television show 'Salut les terriens!' on France's C8 channel on Saturday.
"I know someone in Germany who took a young Syrian and after four days said, 'The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust,'" he added, as quoted by AFP. The comments came after Lagerfeld warned he was about to "say something horrific" regarding Merkel's "huge error" of accepting so many refugees into the country.
The 84-year-old, who was born in Hamburg, went on to accuse Merkel of accepting so many refugees because she was trying to improve her image.
"Merkel had already millions and millions (of immigrants) who are well integrated and who work and all is well... she had no need to take another million to improve her image as the wicked stepmother after the Greek crisis," said the designer, who serves as head creative director for Chanel and Fendi. His comments prompted several hundred people to lodge official complaints, according to France's media regulator, the CSA, which said it is looking into the situation.
Around 1 million mainly Muslim migrants – most of them from war-torn Syria – are estimated to have entered Germany since 2015, as part of the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Merkel has been criticized both domestically and abroad for her open-door policy for those fleeing war and persecution, with critics citing strains on the social welfare system and a rise in migrant-related crimes.
However, Merkel's CDU party and its Bavarian SCU sister party agreed in October to cap Germany's intake of asylum seekers at 200,000 a year. That number could be increased or lowered by the Bundestag in exceptional circumstances, Der Spiegel reported at the time, citing a draft paper.