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German government behaving like Nazis in banning free speech that they claim mirrors Nazi language about German nationalism
By Cassie B. // May 22, 2024

A right-wing German lawmaker has been convicted of using an “illegal” slogan that Sturmabteilung stormtroopers used in the Nazi era.

The phrase in question, “Alles für Deutschland,” means “Everything for Germany” and is one of numerous Nazi slogans and symbols that are now banned in Germany.

Björn Hoecke, the co-leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and one of its most well-known figures, was found guilty of using the phrase and fined 13,000 euros (around $14,000). His charge carried a maximum sentence of three years in prison, and prosecutors were seeking a six-month suspended sentence.

He maintained that the phrase was an “everyday saying” and proclaimed his innocence, noting that he was unaware of its Nazi connotations when he said it. He added that he despises not only Nazi ideology but also all forms of dictatorship. He also pointed to numerous examples of other individuals and groups uttering the same phrase both before and after the Nazi era.

However, prosecutors painted him as someone who has been “strategically and systematically” using Nazi vocabulary throughout his political career. There have also been insinuations that as a former high school history teacher, he knew about the phrase’s origins.

Judge Jan Stengel said: “We as the court have to listen to everything that is said here, but we don’t have to believe everything. You are an intelligent man, you even studied history, you knew what you were saying.”

He made the comment during a campaign event in Saxony-Anhalt in 2021, where he closed a speech by saying: "Everything for our homeland, everything for Saxony-Anhalt, everything for Germany!"

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At a different rally, he had said to the crowd: “Everything for…”; the audience completed it for him by saying: “Germany!”

Prosecutors originally wanted to try him for both incidents but ultimately settled on just the 2021 rally.

Charges against right-wing politician are politically motivated

The politician said he may appeal the verdict and wrote on X: “If this verdict stands, free speech will be dead in Germany.”

Although the fine seems quite excessive, it’s worth noting that he managed to avoid a potential prison sentence that would have effectively stopped him from running for the governor of the German Thuringia state in elections this year.

Thuringia is just one of three states in Eastern Germany where AfD is currently polling in the lead, and Hoecke has led the party’s branch there since its founding in 2013.

Hoecke wrote on X: “Germany is at the forefront of persecuting political opponents and suppressing free speech.”

When Elon Musk asked him in a response to his post why the slogan is illegal in Germany, Hoecke replied: “Because every patriot in Germany is defamed as a Nazi.”

His party’s operations in Thuringia, which is close to the Czech border, are just one of three branches of the AfD that Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has labeled a “proven right-wing extremist group.” The party itself has been accused of being a “suspected” extremist organization, a designation that allows the German government to monitor the party’s politicians using informants and wiretaps.

This only adds to the perception that his harsh fine is politically motivated. It’s ironic that the German government is banning free speech again, just like it did under the Nazis they claim to be trying so hard to distance themselves from.

Sources for this article include:




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