Germany is in shock: for the first time in the history of the country, a regional prime minister was elected with the help of the far-right “Alternative to Germany”. This should shake the Germans to the bone marrow, said Ines Paul.
Just a week ago, the German Bundestag paid tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. The occasion: the 75th anniversary of the release of the Auschwitz concentration camp. In his highly emotional speech, Israeli President Rivlin called on the Germans to never forget the Holocaust and to fight with all might against anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia. Germans and their parties, Rivlin said, have a particular responsibility for the values of democracy and freedom. And they are entrusted with the historical duty to conform their actions to the memory of the past. “Germany should not fail” – these were his words.
This may cause an explosion
But not a week went by – and here’s what happened. With the help of votes from the faction of the right-wing populist Alternative to Germany (AZG), a politician from the Liberals was elected Prime Minister of the Province of Thuringia *. This choice shook Germany. Not only because it provides very clear evidence that provincial CDU politicians and the Liberal Liberal Democratic Party (DDP) who brought it about do not understand their historical responsibility at all. This election could spark an explosion within Democratic parties in Germany and ultimately even lead to early elections for the Bundestag.
Because in the coming weeks, we will have to find out how much the reassurances of the leading German politicians are that they will under no circumstances assemble majority with the support of the GG. Or will we realize that sometimes the temptation to power is still greater?
The leader of the CDU, Anegret Crump-Karenbauer, had clearly warned his party’s provincial organization in Thuringia in no way to ally itself with the AZG. The fact that nothing came of this warning publicly exposed the weakness of Crump-Karenbauer.
And what will the German Chancellor do when MPs from her party in the Thuringian Parliament shake hands with the local AZG leader Bernd Hoke – just the man who ads the Germans for going crazy in their capital as a “shame memorial”, as he called the Holocaust Monument?
“National Socialism has not fallen from the sky”
He has to shake Germany to the bone marrow that day. And the democratic forces are obliged to show us whether they stand firmly on their feet. And what are they willing to take to prevent the “normalization” of something unheard of so far. Let us recall the words of German President Steinmeier, spoken only a few days ago in the Yad Vashem memorial: “National Socialism has not fallen from the sky.”
On this turning day, it became very clear that many Germans no longer remember the story. And that Rivlin’s words “Germany must not fail” apply to all of us. Because no one can ever believe the reassuring words that history never repeats itself.
* Thomas Kemerich of the Liberal Free Democratic Party was elected Prime Minister of Thuringia in the third round of the secret ballot in the Erfurt parliament, to which he received the support of both his own party and the CDU and the far-right OCG. In the first and second votes, the current left-wing prime minister, Bodo Ramelo, did not receive the required majority. In his previous term, Ramelo ruled with the GSDP and the Greens, but in the current parliament this coalition does not have a majority. Kemerich’s party managed to get into the provincial parliament, but with the votes of the CDU and the IGG, it gained a majority. Today, Chancellor Angela Merkel also criticized the choice, calling it “unforgivable”.