1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Buchenwald memorial director rules out AfD engagement

August 9, 2018

After a dreadful meeting with an AfD lawmaker, the Buchenwald Memorial Foundation said it would no longer directly engage with the party. The lawmaker allegedly trivialized anti-Semitic statements made by AfD members.

The slogan 'Jedem das Seine' meaning 'To each his own' is pictured at the internal side of the main gate of former Buchenwald concentration camp
Image: Reuters/Pfaffenbach

The director of the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial site on Thursday told German radio station Deutschlandfunk that the site would no longer work with members of Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Volkhard Knigge's comment came one day after AfD politician Stephen Brandner visited the Buchenwald memorial, where Knigge had hoped he would shed light on the far-right party's attacks on Holocaust remembrance.

Read more: AfD: What you need to know about Germany's far-right party

"It makes absolutely no sense to talk to representatives of the AfD," Knigge told Deutschlandfunk, adding that Brandner had not been able to clarify the views of some of his colleagues' regarding historical revisionism and anti-democratic positions.

Volkhard Knigge
Volkhard Knigge's comment came one day after AfD politician Stephen Brandner visited the Buchenwald memorial.Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Trivializing statements

The meeting had been organized at Brandner's request because he "wanted to know how the foundation, which receives tax money, works."

But in a statement on Wednesday, the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation said Brandner had trivialized anti-Semitic statements made by some AfD members, describing them as short-term lapses by a few individuals.

"In this context, we couldn't hold a conversation about the work of the foundation," the foundation said in a statement Wednesday.

AfD's controversial comments

A number of AfD members have come under fire for their comments about Germany's Nazi past.

In June, AfD leader Alexander Gauland, described the Nazi era as "just bird shit in more than 1,000 years of successful German history."

Read more: Nazi 'bird shit' and the limits of free speech in Germany

Last year, the AfD's leader in the state on Thuringia, Björn Höcke, called for a "180-degree reversal" to Germany's politics of Holocaust remembrance and described the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin a "monument of shame."

Höcke's comments led the Buchenwald Memorial Foundation to refuse him a visit to the memorial site.

law/amp (AFP, dpa)