German Far-Right AfD Leader Mourns Allied Victory Over Nazis as ‘Day of Absolute Defeat’
The leader of the parliamentary group of Germany’s main far-right party has publicly mourned the victory over the Nazi German regime by Allied forces on May 8, 1945 as “a day of absolute defeat, a day of the loss of large parts of Germany and the loss of national autonomy.”
Alexander Gauland — who represents the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party — was speaking against a proposal to make May 8 a national holiday in his country.
“You can’t make May 8 a happy day for Germany,” the 79-year-old Gauland told German broadcaster RND on Wednesday. “For the concentration camp inmates it was a day of liberation. But it was also a day of absolute defeat, a day of the loss of large parts of Germany and the loss of national autonomy.”
A petition initiated by Esther Bejarano, a survivor of the Holocaust, has won 80,000 signatures in favor of marking May 8 as a national holiday. But Gauland — whose party has enjoyed strong showings in both state and federal elections over the last year, coming second in one crucial state ballot in October 2019 — countered that “the women raped in Berlin will see it differently from concentration camp inmates,” a reference to the rape of German women by Soviet troops in the final stages of the war.
Gauland has frequently used World War II as a stick to beat opponents, complaining that Germany had been made to suffer from an undeserved humiliation in the wake of its defeat. In a June 2018 speech, he dismissed the Nazi era as “speck of bird poop” on German history, telling an audience of ultranationalist supporters: “We have a glorious history and, dear friends, it lasted longer than those blasted 12 years.”
The Nazis ruled Germany from 1933 until their surrender to the Allies in 1945, by which time Adolf Hitler’s regime had murdered six million Jews as well as millions of other victims, including Poles, gypsies and disabled people, during the Holocaust.
More recently, Gauland leapt to the defense of his parliamentary colleague Stephan Brandner after the latter compared an award given to a left-wing musician to the figure of Judas in the Christian Bible — a story cited and exploited by antisemites down the ages.
Gauland angrily told a journalist — in reference to Brandner’s statement — “Judas and Jew have nothing to do with each other.”