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Germany: Court fines AfD politician Höcke over Nazi slogan

May 14, 2024

Far-right politician Björn Höcke, a former history teacher, denied during the trial knowing the origin of the slogan he used on the campaign trail.

Björn Höcke points upwards whilst on stage
Höcke wants to stand as the AfD's top candidate in the state elections in Thuringia on September 1Image: Britta Pedersen/dpa/picture alliance

A regional court in the eastern German city of Halle ordered on Tuesday far-right politician Björn Höcke to pay 100 fines at a daily rate of €130 each for using a banned Nazi slogan. 

Höcke, the leader of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) in the eastern state of Thuringia, was accused of knowingly using the slogan of the Sturmabteilung (SA), or Storm Troopers.

The SA was a Nazi paramilitary group commonly referred to as the "brownshirts."

Höcke, 52, is the leading candidate of the Thuringian AfD for the state elections at the beginning of September. Constitutional protection agencies have described him as a right-wing extremist.

Why did Björn Höcke face trial?

The public prosecutor's office had accused Höcke of using symbols of unconstitutional and terrorist organizations.

In 2021, Höcke allegedly said at an AfD rally in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt: "Everything for our homeland, everything for Saxony-Anhalt, everything for Germany." 

Prosecutors say Höcke, a former history teacher, knew that "Everything for Germany" was a banned slogan of the SA. 

He denied this during the trial, describing the phrase as an "everyday saying."

Prosecutor Benedikt Bernzen argued in closing arguments that Höcke had used Nazi vocabulary "strategically and systematically" in the past.

The SA played a major role when Nazis came to power in 1933, terrorizing, killing, torturing and intimidating mainly communists and Jews.

On Monday, a regional court upheld in a separate case the designation of the AfD as a "suspected" extremist organization.

fb/rm (AFP, dpa)

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