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Concentration camp museum director joins campaign to ban Germany's AfD

An AfD election campaign poster.
An AfD election campaign poster. Copyright Michael Probst/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Michael Probst/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews
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The German far-right party AfD finished well in the European elections, but has also suffered serious legal setbacks.

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The director of the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial has warned that the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is too dangerous to be allowed to continue in German politics, citing lessons from the rise of the Nazi Party as a warning.

"AfD repeats the terminology of Nazis," German historian Jens-Christian Wagner said on Monday during a press conference calling for a ban on far-right party.

“The party, i.e. the AfD and its officials and functionaries, represent positions against human dignity," said Wagner. "They repeatedly make ideological and terminological use of the programmes and practices of historical National Socialism."

His remarks came after the AfD finished second in the European Parliament elections in early June with around 15.9% of the vote. That put the party ahead of Germany's ruling Social Democrats, who reached just 13.9% — their worst post-World War II result in a nationwide vote.

"The fact that the Nazis were able to come to power at all was due to the Weimar Republic allowing them to abuse democracy in order to bring down democracy according to their own rules," Wagner explained. "Anti-constitutional parties must be deprived of the opportunity to use the means of democracy to abolish it."

While the AfD's strong performance in the European elections has alarmed its opponents, the party has also faced major setbacks over its alleged links to the extreme right. Regional leader Björn Höcke was recently fined for using a Nazi slogan at a party event, while a court upheld the party's designation as a "suspected extremist organisation".

The AfD was also ejected from its European Parliament group, Identity and Democracy, after former candidate Maximilian Krah told an Italian newspaper that not all members of Hitler's SS were war criminals.

"The warnings, demonstrations and actions against the AfD have not helped so far," said Julia Dück, a campaigner from the group AfD Ban Now. "That's why we need an AfD ban procedure that hinders and stops this party.

"We are at a turning point that could tip authoritarian. Once the AfD has reached a position where it can translate its inhuman goals into state policy, it will no longer be so easy to turn it around. In other words, time is pressing. That means we have to act now," she said.

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