Much of the world seemed surprised by the riots that erupted in Germany late last month, when thousands of neo-Nazis and Nazi sympathizers took to the streets of Chemnitz, chasing down immigrants, with police almost powerless to stop them. Meanwhile, support for Germany’s new far-right party, Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, or AfD), has continued to grow; in a poll taken after the riots in Chemnitz, AfD overtook the German Social Democrats to become the second most popular party in the country. AfD fights against Germany’s “memory culture,” calling for an end to apologizing about the past.
During the election campaign, in Sept. 2017, one of its party leaders, Alexander Gauland, gave a speech in which he said that “no other people have been so clearly presented with a false past as the Germans.” Gauland called for “the past to be returned to the people of Germany,” by which he meant a past in which Germans were free to be “proud of the accomplishments of our soldiers in both world wars.”
On Saturday, an article in the German newspaper Die Zeit posed the question, “Is Germany threatening another 1933?” [Continue reading…]