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Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi speaks during a press conference at his Forza Italia party headquarters, in Rome, on Nov. 25, 2013. / Riccardo De Luca, AP

ROME (AP) - Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has sparked anger by claiming that Germans deny that Nazi-run death camps ever existed.

Berlusconi was presenting his center-right Forza Italia party's candidates Saturday in Milan for May's European Parliament elections when he mentioned a 2003 gaffe he made comparing now Parliament president Martin Schulz to a concentration camp guard. Berlusconi said he didn't want to offend Schulz, then added: "the Germans, for them, concentration camps never existed."

German Families Minister Manuela Schwesig, on Twitter, called Berlusconi's remarks "unspeakable" and urged a fight against right-wing "populism."

A Berlusconi stalwart, former education minister Mariastella Gelmini, dismissed the flap as campaign propaganda.

Berlusconi lost his Italian Senate seat and is banned from running in elections because of a tax fraud conviction but still leads his party.



Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read the original story: Italy's Berlusconi: 'Germans deny death camps'

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