Not the first Maltese skirmish.

I write this from beside the sea in Malta. I love Malta, we go every summer. I have written of its many treasures before. Yes, there will be ‘English pubs’ and massage parlours and all that muck you get in so many tourist destinations. But all I ever see is a fantastic hotel, a sea as warm as a bath and calm as a lake, a beautiful, limestone capital full of friendliness and Caravaggio, and delicious fish that doesn’t cost €200 a plate because it isn’t Greece. 

And a Nazi. 

I’ve not seen a real-life Nazi before. Racists, anti-semites, of course. But generally they have at least a veneer of respectability. Yet there is one in Malta. 

A thickset man, with ‘FUCK COPS’ inked across his chest in bright red letters 20 cms tall. Every other inch of his body was tattooed in heavy gothic Wehrmacht slogans and Nazi symbols. In a hotel full to capacity he was unique in this. The consensus amongst the other guests to whom I spoke was that he was probably from one of the less enlightened Eastern European countries and had likely spent some serious time in prison. He and his equally (if less offensively) tattooed girlfriend were staying in a suite at €600 a night, so if he is a criminal then crime clearly does pay. 

I didn’t speak to him, of course, because he would have killed me. But I asked the lovely deputy general manager, Salim, to have a word. Might he please at least put a t shirt on when he was walking around the kids?

Such a word was had, which simply resulted in him stalking the jetty with his shirt off, chest puffed up, like some gorilla looking for a challenge. 

The next morning at the gym he mounted a machine next to me, strengthening his legs all the better to kick the shit out of some pesky immigrants. 

To my great surprise I actually felt physically sick. My great grandfather was made to dig his own grave and shot into it (I seek no special sympathy here - there is not a Jew in London who doesn’t have such a story), but being in proximity to this man clearly awakened something in my DNA. 

And then a switch was flicked in me, and all I felt was contempt and pity. He reminded me of the Noel Coward song, Don’t let’s be beastly to the Germans. ‘It was just those nasty Nazis who persuaded them to fight, and their Beethoven and Bach are really far worse than their bite’. What sort of pathetic shagsack gets off on flashing offensive slogans to children? And why would he think he’d get a warm response in Malta, a country which had more ordinance dropped on it by the Nazis than any other and which was awarded the George Cross for its gallantry?

I spoke to Salim. He said that this man had been very angry and aggressive when asked to cover up, had claimed such a request was an invasion of his privacy (poor baby) and had lodged a complaint with the hotel. He said he would do whatever he wanted. 

I pointed out to Salim that someone of his faith was unlikely to have a constructive conversation with a Nazi. Salim agreed. He said that the couple would be leaving the same day.

As I said, I love Malta. 



Anonymous 14 July 23 16:58

Matthew, this is actually a surprisingly sensitive and poignant piece from RoF. 

Thank you for writing it and I’m sorry for your loss. 

Alexia 18 July 23 03:57

A rather sensitive piece, and you were right to draw the attention of the hotel owner. I hope you never see him again 

In this story 28 July 23 10:53

Man is offended, rather than raising the issue with the other man, seeks to have an authority control what that man wears (read he wanted him kicked out the resort). Proceeds to blog about it.

@Alexia 28 July 23 11:10

Why? Why would it be appropriate to draw attention to the hotel owner? 

Anonymous 28 July 23 17:13

 Delicious fish doesn’t cost €200 a plate in Greece.

Anonymous 29 July 23 10:23

Time to get yourself a Star of David tattoo, and get ripped fast, unfortunately. 

Matthew 29 July 23 14:49

To the commentators…

I mentioned it to the hotel because I don’t think it’s appropriate for someone to be parading this sort of filth in front of children at a family resort. It was more sensitive to ask management to have a quiet word and try and resolve it than to have kicked off with him directly. The hotel certainly preferred that. And, as I said, he would have killed me. And I have a great life.

I blog about it because I’m a journalist and that’s part of my job.

I didn’t particularly want him kicked out of the hotel but I don’t deny that I’m glad that he was.

Hmm, not sure about the Star of David tat but am definitely trying to get a bit more trim, hence encountering him at the gym…

Anon also with great grandfather heritage 03 August 23 18:49

I’m glad you wrote this Matthew and glad you said something. I’m with you in the visceral response as well, which I find can feel surprisingly corporeal in those moments. 

Well done to the hotel. My grandfather served in Malta and although forever scarred by his war service always had such praise for the Maltese. He had some good stories too. 

Howard Morris 18 August 23 12:38

I make a coffee and think I'll have a look at RoF and, unexpectedly - but that's how it always happens - I'm reminded that while I ought to be judged on what I do, by some I'm instead judged by what I am. I'm the "other". This has occurred from time-to-time throughout my life. It can happen anytime and the worst is when someone one knows, perhaps likes, comes out with something deeply racist. This man chose designs, spent the time and money and endured the discomfort to be able to broadcast his messages of Jew Hate and Nazism.  Matthew, you have my sympathy.  You are not alone.

Wang's Upon a Time 01 September 23 08:47

Interesting piece.  I wonder what I would have done?  I probably wouldnt have even spoken to the manager tbf.  

i would quite like to go to malta

Wang's Upon a Time 01 September 23 09:36

FTAOD this is meant to point out that I am a pussy, I applaud M for his sensible bravery

Anonymous 04 September 23 08:59

reminds me of a time, about 15 years ago, travelling London to Leeds to meet a client.  Exchanged pleasantries with some suited-guy at the bar in the train. Perfectly polite  chat as we waited for our beers.  As I turned to leave, I clocked on his lapel - a swastika pin.  WTAF.  It was one of those things were I was past him as it properly dawned on me.  A bit shocked and didn't know what, if anything, to do- I returned to my seat, and told my colleague (Israeli / British (in that order) guy).  He was he wasn't shocked or paralysed at all.  He was getting up, ready to hunt him down and beat the absolute shit out of him.  I talked him down, but tbh - I've seen guys with the tats.  Usually misguided and just trying to be offensive for lols.  The respectable ones are way more chilling.

Anonymous 04 September 23 14:46

This was hot. I wanted to read about Matthew making the nazi his bitch. 

great piece 12 September 23 16:36

for the avoidance of doubt, this is a good article. 

Anonymous 22 September 23 19:04

Good piece. Very uncomfortable reading. MNazi reminds me alittle of Andrew Tate. Malta has bad memories for me. It is where I was wooed aged 23 by Louis, a man  who was much older who told me he had been married once and was divorced & had two daughters. He swept me off my feet, bought me an engagement ring, met my parents. He would visit me at my London flat where I would cook him wonderful meals after a hard days work and I earned a pittance then. He was always travelling back and forth to Malta.  It turned out he was married and living in Luton and was a used car salesman and a member of the Maltese Mafia. I had a breakdown afterwards and admonished myself for beig so young and naive and refusing to see the signs.  He shall for ever be remembered by me as Louis the Louse.  

Mouse 05 October 23 16:19

As one who lost family members to both communist and Nazi murder campaigns (Roma heritage in my case), I sympathise with your disgust at seeing a man adorned swastikas etc. I feel the same revulsion when I see both the swastika and the hammer and sickle. That the swastika is rightly so reviled and yet people in the mainstream still spew the hate-filled mantras of communism and wear the emblem of that murderous cult is quite beyond belief. 

Moi 14 October 23 08:24

Maybe somewhat off-topic - but this seems to be the most appropriate contribution for my comment:

Where is big law's solidarity with Israel? There is not a quarter of the year without these great gestures - pride month, black history month, int. women's day, equal pay day. But apparently not a single big firm takes a stand showing solidarity with Israel - a statement that actually could cost money from clients in the Middle East.

How can one take firm logos covered in rainbow colors at Christopher street day serious if they are now not covered in blue and white? Courage where it costs nothing is worth nothing.

Anonymous 24 November 23 14:32

I wonder why the assumption he was from Eastern Europe?