The Germans are second only to the British in their fascination for newspaper stories involving Nazis and sex. Television documentaries entitled “Hitler’s women” regularly get top viewing figures. So the Max Mosley Nazi Orgy Sex Scandal is perfect for Germany. Video:

No surprise then that Bild, Germany’s mass circulation newspaper (readership estimated at 12 million), had as its front page splash a gritty black and white photograph of a black-clad prostitute and a naked gray-haired Englishman. “Uproar over Nazi Sex party!” said the headline. “Five hour orgy on video, Whores wear Nazi uniforms”. The newspaper stresses that the man is only allegedly Max Mosley.

But inside the newspaper — on page 19 close to the usual Formula One coverage — Bild makes clear that Mr Mosley is of prime interest to German readers: educated in the elite German boarding school Salem, a friend of Michael Schumacher, and that rare Englishman — a fluent German speaker. A photograph of Oswald Mosley making a Hitler salute underlines the fact that the family has two generations of links with Germany.

No other German newspaper covers the affair quite so extensively — Bild has three other pictures from the News of the World video — but it is clear why the story is unusually spicy for a German public. Wearing Nazi uniforms is banned as is the display of the swastika — the pictures of Prince Harry’s fancy dress party gave readers a rare chance chance to see the Nazi symbol, and even then some newspapers blocked it out. The idea that Englishmen could pay to be whipped by women dressed in these Nazi uniforms, or those of concentration camp prisoners, is deeply shocking, a violation of Germany’s deepest and darkest taboos.

Bernie Ecclestone, the billionaire boss of Formula One, said last night that he did not believe it would be appropriate for Max Mosley to attend this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix after the lurid revelations of Mr Mosley’s part in an alleged Nazi-style orgy with five prostitutes.

Mr Ecclestone, a long-time friend of Mr Mosley, the president of the world governing body of motorsport, the Fédération Internationale de l’Auto-mobile (FIA), told The Times that Mr Mosley’s presence would distract from the race and would not be appreciated by the Bahraini Royal Family.

“He shouldn’t go, should he? The problem is he would take all the ink away from the race and put it on something which, honestly and truly, is nobody else’s business anyway,” Mr Ecclestone said. Asked how the Royal Family might react to Mr Mosley’s presence, Mr Ecclestone said: “They wouldn’t like it.”

Mr Ecclestone’s comments came as Formula One teams and car manufacturers involved in the sport began expressing deep unease at Mr Mosley’s apparent determination to continue in his post, despite revelations in the News of the World at the weekend that have shocked the sport. The paper reported how Mr Mosley, 67, the son of the Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, spent five hours with five prostitutes in an underground “torture chamber” in Chelsea last Friday indulging in sado-masochistic sex.

The FIA president was said to have re-enacted an alleged concentration camp scene in which he played the role of both guard and inmate and, speaking in German, beat the women and allowed himself to be inspected for lice and “interrogated” in chains. The revelations shocked Jewish groups and leading figures in Formula One.

Despite suggesting that he should not travel to the Gulf, Mr Ecclestone continued to stand by his friend and said he would not be calling for Mr Mosley to resign. “What Max should do is what he thinks is right because it is only him that’s involved, not the FIA,” said Mr Ecclestone. “He must do what he believes, in his heart of hearts, is the right thing.”

Mr Ecclestone admitted that many would find the disclosures of Mr Mosley’s personal conduct hard to understand. “If Max was in bed with two hookers, they’d say ‘good for you or something like that’,” Mr Ecclestone said. “But this, as it is, people find it replusive. I think that’s the problem.”

Mr Mosley was unavailable for comment but his spokesman said he had no intention of resigning and was planning to tough it out. He is pursuing legal action against the News of the World and has already forced the paper to remove a video of the orgy from its website.

Mr Ecclestone believes his friend and business associate will get nowhere in the courts and, taking action will only give the story further publicity. “The trouble with Max is he’s been brave and there is bravado at the moment, but I don’t think it’s going to be easy. And if he starts to sue, from what I understand, the chances of him winning would be slim and, the trouble is, it’s just a lot more ink for the press.”

Among car manufacturers involved in Formula One there was particular disgust in Germany where BMW and Mercedes-Benz are based, over the Nazi element in Mr Mosley’s conduct. The story is also believed to have dismayed senior figures in the Japanese companies, Toyota and Honda, who have strict rules on personal and official morality.

One leading figure in a Japanese Formula One team said he did not believe it was possible for Mr Mosley to continue and that the groundswell of feeling against him would grow, not ebb away, as the week progressed. “It’s a credibility and judgment issue – fantasising about one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century is obviously completely inappropriate.”

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Sex, Nazis, F1 and Videotape: Max Mosley Orgy Scandal is big News in Germany

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