The individual is known for his extremist stances and even monitored by intelligence. Bjorn Höcke, a regional leader of Germany's far-right AfD party, which is booming in the polls, is facing prosecution for repeating a Nazi slogan at a rally, the local prosecutor's office said Monday. This leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Thuringia, a region of the former GDR where the far right is particularly powerful, is accused of having launched, on May 29, 2021 during a meeting, "Alles für Deutschland!" ("All for Germany!"). Problem: it is a slogan of the Nazi paramilitary organization "Sturmabteilung", better known by the abbreviation of SA.
The SA, dressed in brown shirts, accompanied the rise of Adolf Hitler in the early 1930s and multiplied the abuses against opponents of Nazism and Jews. They were then supplanted by the SS after the elimination of some of their leaders during the Night of the Long Knives in the summer of 1934.
Already known for slippages
Bjorn Höcke, who is part of the most radical wing of the AfD, closely monitored by the intelligence services, uttered this slogan, according to the Halle prosecutor's office, in front of about 250 people at a public meeting in Merseburg (Saxony-Anhalt). He is accused of "having publicly used distinctive signs of a former National Socialist organization", a crime in Germany, "knowing the origin of this expression and the meaning of this formula", said the prosecutor's office in a statement.
" READ ALSO Poland : a conference on the Holocaust canceled after the intrusion of a deputy of the extreme right
The fifty-year-old has already become known for excesses on the Holocaust: he had deplored the existence in Berlin of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which he had described as the "Memorial of Shame". He has also been singled out in the past for his comments against refugees and Islam. "Through his defense, the accused challenged the criminal nature of the remarks made" during the meeting, says the prosecutor. It is now up to the Halle court to decide whether or not to hold a trial.
The lawsuits come at a time when the decade-old AfD is soaring in the polls, with about 18 percent of voting intentions, according to recent studies. The far-right party, particularly established in the eastern German Länder, is now neck and neck with Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democratic Party, behind the conservatives of the CDU but clearly ahead of the Greens and the liberals.