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AfD barred from Nazi camp memorial

January 25, 2019

The Buchenwald concentration camp's memorial foundation doesn't want AfD politicians from the central state of Thuringia to attend its services. The foundation's director cited some member's "historical revisionism."

Fencing surrounds Buchenwald concentration camp on January 26, 2018 near Weimar, Germany
Image: Getty Images/J. Schlueter

Politicians from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) have been barred from attending Holocaust remembrance ceremonies at the Buchenwald concentration camp in central Germany, the camp's memorial foundation has said.

The foundation said the AfD could not take part in any future services "until it has convincingly distanced itself from the anti-democratic and anti-human rights stances and historical revisionism within the party."

Read more: Buchenwald: Lessons from past and present

The decision bans AfD members from attending a memorial service on Friday during which Holocaust survivors and representatives from Thuringia's state parliament will lay down a wreath for Buchenwald victims.

They are also barred from attending Sunday's service marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In a letter to the leader of the AfD in the Thuringia state parliament, foundation director Volkhard Knigge cited statements by the leader of the AfD in Thuringia, Börjn Höcke, as grounds for the decision.

Höcke, who was banned from attending memorial services in early 2017, has demanded a "180-degree turn" in Germany's culture of remembrance for Nazi crimes, which he once called an "idiotic coping policy."

Read more: Buchenwald 'demons' still at large

"Höcke still holds fast to his attitude toward the culture of remembrance," Knigge said. "Your group, too, has not distanced itself from his positions."

"Anyone within the AfD who does not credibly oppose such positions and the trivializing, relativizing view of history associated with them, supports them."

Some 56,000 people died in Buchenwald, one of the largest concentration camps in Germany, as a result of torture, medical experiments, starvation or disease during the 1933-1945 Nazi regime.

More than  7,000  people were killed at Buchenwald after the war, when the Soviet secret police used it as an internment camp.

#DailyDrone: Buchenwald Memorial

amp/rt (dpa, AFP)

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