German journalist slams ‘Hitler moustache’ Scots

A GERMAN who has lived in the Highlands for 36 years claims locals once put on Hitler moustaches and marched past him in a pub.

A general view of Achiltibuie, in Wester Ross. Picture: Google Maps

Veteran journalist Reiner Luyken made the allegation about Achiltibuie in a respected German newspaper with a readership of two million.

The 63-year-old also alleged that villagers dislike foreigners and that his home has been dubbed the “Scheisse House”.

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Mr Luyken, a correspondent for respected German weekly Die Zeit, said some villagers use “racist methods to suppress dissent”.

His claims have caused massive offence in the Wester Ross community of 300, with one local hitting back: “This place is no more racist than it is flying in the air.”

Mr Luyken, who has reported from trouble spots including Iraq, recently wrote articles for Die Zeit that were much closer to home.

His pieces about life in Achiltibuie were entitled “No tea for the English” and “You are not welcome, foreigner”.

Describing a recent community meeting to debate the referendum, he wrote: “As I enter the room, almost all present show me the cold shoulder.

Another article states: “I received a handwritten letter addressed to “Reiner Luyken, The Scheisse House” together with a nasty hard-core flyer for some potency pills.

“When my wife and I went for a bite at a local pub with another German-British couple, two guys stuck little Hitler moustaches to their top lips, and marched provocatively past our table.”

The articles were published in Die Zeit which has a circulation of 500,000 but a readership across Europe of about two million. Translations of the articles made their way back to Achiltibuie.

One local said: “Mr Luyken does this place a massive disservice in his campaign of vitriol. This place is no more racist than it is flying in the air.”

Lobster fisherman Peter Drake, 52, said: “I don’t believe anyone dislikes him because of his ethnic origin.

“He writes things that are particularly offensive to people in this community, and when they complain about it he says it’s racist.

“It’s pretty unpleasant to be on the receiving end of it.”

Mr Luyken was unapologetic.

He said: “The whole of Scotland is racist. There might be a little bit less of it in Edinburgh. It’s as racist as any country in Europe – in fact it’s a lot worse.

“Strangers are welcome here so long as they toe the line.

“This is my home. I understand village life. They stereotype me because of the news that I have put into the public domain. The newspaper is not there to gloss over anything.”

Mr Luyken lives in the village with his Scottish wife.

The couple were at the centre of a recent planning controversy when they built deluxe self-catering accommodation in the village.

He also fell out with some villagers after unsuccessfully opposing a wind turbine installation and objecting to the the design of a new village hall.