Historians have pointed to the unerring “parallels” between a speech given by Hitler in 1933 and an article published this week by the leader of Germany’s increasingly popular far-right political party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).
In an opinion piece for a Frankfurt daily, Alexander Gauland railed against industry leaders as a “globalised class” who were “culturally colourful” as they moved from country to country with no homeland.
This group, he said, live “almost exclusively in big cities, speak fluent English, and when they move from Berlin to London or Singapore for jobs, they find similar flats, houses, restaurants, shops and private schools everywhere”.
Historians immediately recognised the similarities with a portentous speech Hitler gave in 1933, in which he ranted against a “small, rootless, international clique… at home both nowhere and everywhere”.
Hitler said these people “do not have anywhere a soil on which they have grown up, but who live in Berlin today, in Brussels tomorrow, Paris the day after that, and then again in Prague or Vienna or London, and who feel at home everywhere”. It prompted cries of “the Jews” from the audience.
Speaking to Der Tagesspiegel, the paper that highlighted the similarities, historian Wolfgang Benz said it “looks as if the AfD head had the Führer’s speech from 1933 on his desk when he was writing” it.
Michael Wolffsohn, another historian, said it appeared as though Gauland was “signalling to his educated followers that he knows the speech and style of Hitler”.