Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl has summoned Juergen-Michael Kleppich, an attaché from the country's embassy in Israel, "to clarify the circumstances and to submit to a legal probe into the accusations in the media," the ministry's spokesman Thomas Schnoll said.
The Falker newspaper reported that Kleppich posted a photo on his Facebook page showing him in a green shirt with the words "Stand your ground" and "Frundsberg," the last name of a 15th century mercenary who was used as a symbol by the Nazis for the 10th SS Panzer division.
The T-shirt can be bought at Phalanx Europa, an online shop that sells "patriotic" garment for supporters of the nativist Identitarian movement.
2018 postet Kleppich dann aus Israel Fotos mit einem Motiv von "Phalanx Europa".#Frundsberg war Landsknecht um 1520 und gewann 1525 gegen Frankreich bei Pavia.— sanddrn (@sanddrn) March 20, 2018
Seinen Namen trägt eine Burschenschaft, aber v.a. eine SS-Panzerdivision.https://t.co/5X1YZ3sHby pic.twitter.com/LGg1EW43G4
"We know about the case only from the media. We do not have any additional information," the Austrian Embassy in Tel Aviv told the APA news agency, responding to a question on Kleppich's social media activities.
Kleppich, who is also an FPO local councilor in a district of Vienna, had already been involved in a similar scandal after he posted a photo of his grandfather in a Nazi uniform with a swastika.
Außenministerin Karin Kneissl #FPÖ erteilte die Weisung, #Kleppich "umgehend nach #Wien einzuberufen", um die gegen ihn in den #Medien erhobenen Vorwürfe einer rechtlichen Prüfung zu unterziehen". #Israel #TelAviv https://t.co/UV8UXwpKU8 via @sn_aktuell pic.twitter.com/Y4zIQxVkqM— 𝑽𝒐𝒍𝒌𝒔𝒇𝒂𝒉𝒓𝒓𝒂𝒆𝒅𝒆𝒓 (@immer_bereit) March 20, 2018
The FPO, founded by in the 1950s by former SS officer Anton Reinthaller, has long been seeking to clean up its image and describes itself as the representative of national liberal values, rejecting racism and extremism. Nevertheless, the party still gets embroiled in scandals from time to time, with the latest debacle erupting after an FPO candidate had to quit from state elections as his student fraternity turned out to have published a songbook with lyrics praising the Holocaust.
Strache has visited Israel several times and supports the idea to move the Austrian embassy to Jerusalem, after US President Donald Trump ordered the US diplomatic mission to do so.
The People's Party (OVP), headed by incumbent Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the FPO, chaired by now Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, together form a coalition government in the country.