New Berlusconi gaffe: 'Germans deny death camps'

Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, center, leaves a court in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, April 23, 2014 after a signing off on rules that lets him to do community service instead of a year’s house arrest. Berlusconi said that next week he will start carrying out a court order to help the elderly four hours weekly as part of his punishment for a tax fraud conviction. The 77-year-old media mogul gave no details of his work with elderly persons at a center at the outskirts of Milan. A Milan court previously dealt him an 11p.m-till-dawn curfew. He can campaign for his Forza Italia party in upcoming European Parliament elections but cannot run himself. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

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.