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A German politician was accused of using the Nazi slogan

A German politician was accused of using the Nazi slogan

The armed organization Sturmabteilung, SA, paved the way for Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933. Its members, also known as the Brown Shirts, protected Nazi demonstrations and harassed Jews and political opponents. The group's slogan was “Alles für Deutschland” – everything for Germany.

Now German politician and history teacher Björn Höcke is on trial for repeating this expression in two political speeches. In May 2021, the politician, who represents the right-wing nationalist Alternative for Germany party, was said to have used the slogan in a speech in the city of Merseburg. In December 2023, he allegedly allowed the crowd to chant “Deutschland” after saying “Alles für” himself.

In Germany, it is a criminal offense to use symbols or logos associated with banned organizations in public places. Anyone who violates the law risks imprisonment for up to three years.

The trial of Björn Höcke It started Thursday morning in the German city of Halle. Björn Höcke denies the accusations, and says he did not know the expression he used was linked to SA. When the politician was asked about the accusations in a television interview last week, he said that the expression was used in all possible contexts.

– The telecommunications company used it in its advertisements! Bjorn Hauck claimed.

Photo: Jan Woytas/TT

The politician was referring to the large German company Deutsche Telekom. But the claim was not true, and after harsh criticism from the company, the politician was forced to take it back.

Political scientist Dirk Borstel, who researches extremism at the University of Dortmund, tells radio station Deutschlandfunk that it is unlikely that Björn Höcke was not aware of the connection between the SA and the slogan. According to the expert, trying to challenge the limits of what can be said in Germany is a conscious political strategy among many right-wing nationalists.

– It is mainly about relativizing the Holocaust, and about the question of whether National Socialism is bad or not. Dirk Borstel says Hockey is testing these limits.

Bjorn Hockey is 52 years old He leads the Alternative for Germany party in the state of Thuringia, which heads to the polls next September. The party leads by a large margin in the latest opinion polls. Weighting from various institutes gives the Alternative for Germany party 30 percent of the votes, while the Christian Democratic Union comes in second place with 20 percent.

A conviction could mean Björn Höcke is barred from running for election.

The trial is scheduled to end in mid-May.

Read more:

Dissenters warn against the right-wing nationalist Alternative for Germany party

The AfD is suspected of threatening democracy – and now voices are rising to ban the party

Protests against right-wing extremism continue across Germany

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