The former Buchenwald concentration camp will hold a remembrance ceremony on Friday, which will be attended by former prisoners of the camp as well as regional politicians.
But chair of the AfD’s Thuringia branch, Björn Höcke, is no longer welcome after a speech last week, in which he described Berlin’s Holocaust memorial as a “memorial of shame” and called for a “180 degree turnaround in [Germany’s] political memory”.
“After his speech in Dresden, it is unacceptable for Mr Höcke to take part in the wreath-laying ceremony at the former Buchenwald concentration camp,” the acting director of the site, Rikola-Gunnar Lüttgenau, said on Thursday.
He added that the “place and time” of the event – the memorial site and Germany’s official Holocaust Memorial Day – were “central components of a public memory which Björn Höcke has defamed”.
The president emeritus of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, Bertrand Herz, added: “We refuse to accept the appearance of those who downplay [the Holocaust] at the memorial at the site of our ordeal”.
In Höcke’s speech, he also condemned a former president who had encouraged the country to take responsibility for the Nazis’ crimes, saying the former leader had spoken out “against his own people”.
Since the comments, politicians from various parties have called for Germany’s domestic security agency, the BfV, to monitor the AfD.
Höcke has stood by his words, saying that he was merely acknowledging Germany’s shame over the genocide.
26 January 2017