In a speech in a beer hall in Dresden

Let’s hear from some more Nazis. They’re speaking up. Philip Oltermann in Berlin reports in the Guardian:

A politician from the rightwing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has broken with the country’s postwar political consensus by calling for a “180-degree turn” from the tradition of remembering and atoning for the Nazi era.

In a speech in a beer hall in Dresden, Björn Höcke, who leads the party in the eastern state of Thuringia, railed against Germany’s decade-long tradition of acknowledging the crimes of the National Socialist era, describing the Holocaust memorial in Berlin as a “monument of shame”.

“They wanted to cut off our roots and with the re-education that began in 1945, they nearly managed,” Höcke said. “Until now, our mental state continues to be that of a totally defeated people. We Germans are the only people in the world that have planted a monument of shame in the heart of their capital.”

So Germans should be taking pride in the Holocaust?


The Central Council of Jews in Germany condemned the speech. Its president, Josef Schuster, said: “With these antisemitic and highly misanthropic comments, the AfD is showing its true face. I would have never dared to imagine that it would be possible for a politician to say such things 70 years after the Shoah.”

The German vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, said: “Björn Höcke despises the Germany I am proud of. Never, never ever must we allow the demagogy of a Björn Höcke to go unchallenged. Not as Germans, and
especially not as Social Democrats.”

Deutsche Welle has more:

Jewish groups have reacted with anger and shock after a local leader of the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) attacked Germany’s national Holocaust memorial and the country’s devotion to teaching its citizens about Nazi genocide.

“It is deeply outrageous and completely unacceptable to describe the Berlin Holocaust Memorial as Björn Höcke did as a ‘monument of shame,'” the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, said in a statement. “With these anti-Semitic and extremely misanthropic remarks, the AfD is showing its true face. I would not have believed that it was possible for a politician in Germany to say such things 70 years after the Shoah.”

Höcke is pretending that’s not what he said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Höcke said that he was merely criticizing the weight given to the shame of the Holocaust in Germany’s approach to its own history – and threatened to sue anyone misquoting him. But within the context of the speech, which can be viewed on YouTube, there is little doubt that Höcke was depicting the Holocaust monument and culture of remembrance negatively.

I think this is the YouTube:

The deputy chairman of the Social Democrats, Ralf Stegner, blasted Höcke on Twitter, writing: “Remembering the millions of Nazi victims isn’t weakness – weakness is stirring up hatred against helpless people as a way of elevating oneself.”

Green party co-chairwoman Simone Peter called for the AfD to “unambiguously distance” itself from Höcke. Green party MP and chairman of the German-Israeli parliamentary committee, Volker Beck, said that state authorities should more closely monitor the right wing of the AfD for neo-Nazi content.

“The strategy of carefully targeted violations of taboos continues,” Beck said in a statement. “Höcke is making the AfD into the parliamentary representatives of the NPD (Germany’s far-right party). It’s high time that his wing of the AfD is kept under observation by domestic intelligence agencies. The most recent statement by the chairman of the AfD in Thuringia show what sort of racist and anti-Semitic views are maintained by the AfD and its functionaries.”

“This is not just a run-of-the-mill provocation – this about our identity as Germans,” wrote Social Democratic Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel on Facebook. “Höcke’s speech particularly horrified me personally because my father was an unapologetic Nazi until the day he died.”

“Höcke speaks the language of the Nazi party,” concurred SPD secretary general Katarina Barley. Left Party member of parliament Diether Dehm and Left Party co-chairpersons Sahra Wagenknecht and Dietmar Bartsch officially reported Höcke to the police for “incitement of the people” – which is a crime in Germany.

They’re rising everywhere.

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