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Buchenwald memorial director confronts AfD over Holocaust

THE director of the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial foundation confronted a far-right German politician yesterday over his party’s attacks on Holocaust remembrance in the country.

Volkhard Knigge met with Alternative for Germany (AfD) parliamentarian Stephan Brandner and said he would use the meeting to challenge him over “the historical revisionism and anti-democratic positions of his party and his own position on them.”

Germany remains sensitive over its nazi past and the crimes committed under Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship, which saw six million Jews exterminated in gas chambers during the Holocaust.

However, the AfD – which entered the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, for the first time last September with 90 MPs – has been accused of “openly waging battle against the democratic culture of remembrance” with the aim of making it easier to “trample human dignity in future.”

During a Holocaust memorial service in the Bundestag earlier this year, a number of its MPs were seen shaking their heads while the names of Holocaust victims were read out.

The party’s co-leader Alexander Gauland has described the nazi period as a mere “speck of bird poop in over 1,000 years of successful German history.”

AfD politician Bjoern Hoecke, a member of the Thuringian state parliament, has been banned from Holocaust memorial services after branding a memorial in Berlin a “monument of shame” during a speech last year.

And Mr Brandner was criticised after he called Buchenwald “a warning to all that every dictatorship, whether politically red or brown in stripe, gives rise to crime and criminals” for drawing a false equivalence between nazis and communists.

Almost a quarter of a million people were held at Buchenwald between 1937 and 1945, with an estimated 56,000 killed.

Mr Knippe vowed “to do everything in our power to expose and defeat these AfD objectives.”

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