Two men with first-hand experience of the evils of fascism have spoken of their 'dismay' at the BNP's success.
War veteran Cyril Watts, 84, was on a minesweeper at the time of the Normandy landings. And Mayer, a Jewish man in his 80s from Manchester, was one of the few who managed to survive the horrors of the holocaust. Both say they are 'deeply upset' with the poll results that saw two of the right wing party's members elected to the European Parliament.
Cyril, from Rochdale, recently featured in the M.E.N. after defiantly staging his own commemoration for the 65th anniversary of D-Day in the town after no official event was organised. He believes that his colleagues who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against racism would be 'shattered' if they could see what had happened at the polls.
"I'm absolutely disgusted with it," he said. "And I'm sure some of my colleagues who lost their lives would feel the same. They'd be shattered if they could see this."
Cyril added that he had 'no time' for the BNP. He said: "They're just racist bruisers aren't they? If they come round here knocking on doors I tell them to clear off. I don't even think they should have been allowed to put up in the first place. We're too lenient here. We let them get away with murder. It's ridiculous how the thing has been allowed to escalate. It also upsets me that they have robbed our flag, the union flag, and use it themselves. We fought for that flag and it's not theirs."
Cyril added that despite being upset he wasn't worried about what the two right wing MEPs would achieve.
"I think we should just leave them to chew their own cud," he said. "They'll soon be fighting with each other. There's not enough of them to put their own policies through so I wouldn't worry about it."
Mayer was taken by cattle truck to Auschwitz in May 1943. He was one of the 'fortunate' 20 per cent who escaped the gas chambers. He said: "Obviously I am concerned by what has happened. We don't want a repeat of what took place all those years ago. Hatred can begin in many forms and it spreads like a disease. When the Nazis came to power they made laws that were abhorrent.
"I remember the kind of things that happened at the start in the 30s. I hope and pray that it does not happen here. It took a long, long time to establish democracy in Europe. We are very lucky now and we enjoy our freedom. We must realise the hatred and prejudice that exists. I would hate to see a repeat of what happened."
Manchester Evening News