Sigmar Gabriel
Sigmar GabrielReuters

Germany's vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, on Wednesday blasted remarks by a prominent member of the German right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, who suggested that Germany should end its decades-long tradition of acknowledging and atoning for its Nazi past.

Bjoern Hoecke 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.”

Gabriel wrote on Facebook that even though he knows the AfD party thrives on provocation, the comments by Hoecke were "shocking."

"This is not just some kind of provocation. We must never let this kind of demagoguery be undisputed," added Gabriel, according to The Associated Press.

Gabriel is not the only one to condemn the comments, which were met with an instant uproar in Germany.

Social Democrat vice chief Ralf Stegner accused Hoecke of making a "hate incitement speech" - which is illegal in Germany - that called for history to be rewritten.

The chairwoman of the Greens party Simone Peter said the comments were "unspeakable" and demanded an apology from the AfD to Jews.

Germany's Central Council of Jews also lashed out, accusing Hoecke of trampling on six million Jewish Holocaust victims murdered by the Nazis.