general-image

Trivializing Antisemitism

“Hitler and the Nazis are just one bird shit in over 1,000 years of successful German history.” (Alexander Gauland, AFD)

“All we need is a 180-degree turn in the politics of memory.” (Björn Höcke, AFD)

More Information

Right-wing populists and right-wing extremists try to attract public attention in the field of history politics by breaking taboos and making provocative statements. The breaking of taboos is staged in a targeted manner in order to first set topics and then to be able to discuss them again under changed coordinates and perspectives.

Titulations of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin as a monument to shame and the trivialization of the Nazi regime as bird shit in over 1,000 years of successful German history (Alexander Gauland, AFD) are calculated moves. Through such linguistic escalations, right-wing extremists and right-wing populists want to popularize and normalize their positions in order to push the boundaries of what can be said and create creeping acceptance of these views. The effects of such breaking of taboos and shifting borders are already making themselves felt for memorials and museums. Employees observe that in visitor groups and school classes as well as in the entire field of political education antisemitic and racist, as well as right-wing sayings and opinions are expressed much more naturally and confidently.

Right-wing populists speak of a “German guilt cult” and a “180-degree turn in viewing political history”. Right-wing extremists provoke during memorials; members of the state parliament disrupt commemorative events. There is currently a real wave of attacks on the culture of remembrance and history in Germany. They are building on a strong call in society for a “Schlussstrich” (drawing the line) which is displayed in several social studies. For example, almost 50% of those questioned agreed with the statements: “I am annoyed that the Germans are still reproached for crimes against the Jews today“ and “I’m tired of hearing about the German crimes against the Jews over and over again.“ (FES-Mitte-Studie, 2014)

Right-wing populists and their apologists continuously question the educational relevance of the Holocaust and the National Socialism regime for past and present. Accordingly, their historical-political concepts aim to reduce the importance of National Socialism in the German culture of remembrance.

Criminal charges should be filed in the case of statements relevant to criminal law, such as denial of the Holocaust or sedition or the use of unconstitutional symbols.

References

Nur Schnee von gestern? Zum Umgang mit dem Kulturkampf von rechts in Gedenkstätten und Museen (2020) | MBR (The 45-page handout of the Mobile Advice Against Right-Wing Extremism “Just yesterday’s news? To deal with the culture war from the right in memorials and museums” )

Antisemitische Einstellungsmuster in der Mitte der Gesellschaft  (article “Anti-Semitic attitudes in the middle of society” published on December 15, 2020, in Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung)

Visuals

“Vogelschiss in der Geschichte” – wie Gauland seine Äußerung zur NS-Zeit verteidigt * (article “‘Bird shit in history’ – as Gauland now defends his statement about the Nazi era” published on June 3, 2018)

Höcke-Rede im Wortlaut: “Gemütszustand eines total besiegten Volkes” – Politik (article “Höcke speech in full: ‘State of mind of a totally defeated people’”)

Debunking response