A cartoon, drawn and published by Italian artist Mario Improta in the wake of Johnson's party victory in general election in the UK, sparked controversy over its use of Nazi symbolism to deliver the message that London will complete Brexit and be satisfied with the result.
In the image, Improta shows a joyful Johnson holding the UK flag and running away from what looks like - judging by the distinctive arc above the entrance - the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp run by the Nazis in World War II. The problem is that, instead of the infamous caption above the entrance "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work sets you free"), Improta wrote "European Union", suggesting that with Johnson's victory, the UK will soon be able to escape the EU.
While many netizens liked Improta's interpretation, Rome’s Jewish community, the Auschwitz Memorial, has condemned the use of Nazi symbolism, calling it "painful for the memory of Auschwitz and its victims".
Following a backlash, the artist admitted that it was not correct to use Auschwitz to represent the EU, and published an edited version of the cartoon in which the economic bloc is depicted as a yellow-blue toilet with Johnson joyfully escaping it.
Ho modificato la vignetta.— Mario Improta (@marioimprota72) December 15, 2019
Non era corretto identificare l’Unione Europea con un campo di concentramento. pic.twitter.com/lJtIOwZaq6
Johnson's Conservative Party achieved a major victory in the 12 December UK snap election, securing 359 seats in the 650-seats-large House of Commons and thus a majority crucial for the Prime Minister's plans to finish Brexit by 31 January 2020.