A far-right politician in Germany who has made controversial statements on Holocaust commemoration has threatened a journalist for comparing his quotes to those of Hitler.
Björn Höcke, who leads the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the eastern state of Thuringia, walked out of an interview, threatening a journalist from the state broadcaster ZDF with “massive consequences”.
The journalist had earlier put a quote to six of Höcke’s AfD colleagues and asked them whether the quote was taken from Höcke or from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Five did not know and one said it was probably from Hitler.
In fact, it was Höcke, a former history teacher, who said: “When the turning point is reached, then we Germans won’t do things by halves, we will dispose of the rubbish heaps of modernity.”
In the interview, journalist David Gebhard asked Höcke whether his use of phrases with Nazi associations, such as entartet (degenerate), Volksverderber (corruptor of the people) and Lebensraum (living space), was accidental or deliberate.
In May last year, speaking at a beer hall rally in Dresden, Höcke called Berlin’s Holocaust memorial a “monument of shame” and urged for a “180 degree reversal” on how the country commemorates and atones for the Nazi era.
“We Germans are the only people in the world that have planted a monument of shame in the heart of their capital,” he said.
To chants of “Germany, Germany,” he added: “They wanted to cut off our roots and with the re-education that began in 1945, they nearly managed… Until now, our mental state continues to be that of a totally defeated people.”
Josef Schuster of the Central Council of Jews in Germany said the comments were “antisemitic and highly misanthropic,” adding: “I’d have never dared imagine it possible for a politician to say such things 70 years after the Shoah.”