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Gabriel compares AfD views to Nazi sentiments

June 12, 2016

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has said views expressed by Alternative for Germany members remind him of those held by his Nazi father. Gabriel added some members of the party longed to return to the 1960s.

Image: Imago/CommonLens

In the comments, published on Sunday, Deputy Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is not the first group in Germany to support "xenophobic" positions and oppose what he described as the country's openness and liberalism.

"The AfD is not a new phenomenon for me," he told the Funke Media Group. "Everything that they are saying, I've already heard - just to be clear - from my own father, who was a Nazi to his last breath.

Longing for the past

He said some AfD leaders would like to take German society back to the 1960s, a period that many on the right see as a time of relative stability before Germany had mass immigration.

"They want to go back to the repressed old West German republic of the 1960s, when women were still at home and foreigners, gays and lesbians had to be invisible, and where old army songs were sung over a beer in the evening," Gabriel added.

AfD on the move

Support for the AfD has recently risen to new highs. The party is now represented in eight out of 16 state assemblies and currently has 15 percent support in national opinion polls.

In May, the party backed a manifesto pledge that says Islam is not compatible with the German constitution and calls for a ban on minarets and the burqa.

AfD Vice Chair Alexander Gauland said in May that most Germans would not want to have national soccer star Jerome Boateng, born in Berlin to a Ghanaian father, as their neighbor. AfD leader Frauke Petry later apologized to Boateng.

The 56-year-old Gabriel has been vice chancellor and economy minister since 2013 and, since 2009, chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), a junior coalition partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Merkel has come under fire in recent months for an open-door policy toward migrants, at least 1.1 million of whom are estimated to have arrived in Germany in 2015.

jbh/sms (Reuters, DPA)