German far-right lawmaker pictured with Hitler wine

Alternative for Germany trying to expel regional lawmaker who posed in front of wine bottles featuring pictures of Nazi leader.

Elad Benari,

AfD party members
AfD party members
Reuters

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is trying to expel a regional lawmaker who posed in front of wine bottles featuring pictures of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, an AfD chapter has started proceedings to force out Jessica Biessmann, a party member serving in Berlin's state parliament.

The bottles appeared in photos from social media posts that Biessmann claims are a decade old. They are available for purchase in Italy, but publicly displaying Nazi symbols is illegal in Germany.

There have been calls for Germany's domestic intelligence agency to monitor the Alternative for Germany over extremism concerns.

The AfD captured nearly 13 percent of the vote and almost 100 seats in parliament in the election in September of 2017.

The party has a history of controversial statements, particularly surrounding the Holocaust. Party member Bjoern Hoecke caused a firestorm in February of 2017 when he suggested that Germany should end its decades-long tradition of acknowledging and atoning for its Nazi past.

He also criticized the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, saying, "We Germans, our people, are the only people in the world who have planted a monument of shame in the heart of the capital.”

Germany's vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, blasted Hoecke over the remarks, as did Germany's Central Council of Jews.

Hoecke ultimately apologized for his controversial remarks. In June, AfD leaders ended a drive to have him expelled.

Party co-leader Alexander Gauland in June described the Nazi period as a mere "speck of bird poo in over 1,000 years of successful German history".

He asserted last year, however, that Jews should not fear the strong election showing by AfD and indicated that he was ready to meet with German Jewish leaders “at any time.”

Most recently the party sparked an outcry when it launched a "Jewish" group within its ranks which it says will battle against mass immigration of Muslim men with anti-Semitic views.




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