Ger­many ‘should be proud’ of war ef­forts

Nelson Mail - - WORLD -

UNITED STATES: Ger­mans should be proud of what their sol­diers achieved dur­ing two world wars, the top can­di­date of the far-Right Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) said ahead of the Septem­ber 24 elec­tion.

The anti-im­mi­grant AfD is at 12 per cent in opin­ion polls, mean­ing it could be­come the third big­gest party in Ger­many’s lower house be­hind Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s con­ser­va­tives and the So­cial Democrats (SPD).

‘‘If I look around Europe, no other peo­ple have dealt as clearly with their past wrongs as the Ger­mans,’’ 76-year-old Alexan­der Gauland said in a speech to sup­port­ers posted on YouTube.

The Nazis ruled Ger­many from 1933 to 1945, dur­ing which time they killed 6 mil­lion Jews in the Holo­caust.

‘‘Peo­ple no longer need to re­proach us with these 12 years – they don’t re­late to our iden­tity nowa­days,’’ Gauland said.

He said the bat­tle of Ver­dun dur­ing World War I be­longed to Ger­man his­tory, as did Er­win Rom­mel, the World War II field mar­shal cel­e­brated as the ‘‘Desert Fox’’, and army of­fi­cer Claus von Stauf­fen­berg, who led an un­suc­cess­ful at­tempt to as­sas­si­nate Hitler in July 1944.

Gauland said Ger­many needed to re­claim its his­tory.

‘‘If the French are rightly proud of their em­peror and the Bri­tons of Nel­son and Churchill, we have the right to be proud of the achieve­ments of the Ger­man sol­diers in two world wars.’’

In Jan­uary, Bjo­ern Hoecke, the AfD’s chief in the eastern state of Thuringia, pro­voked out­rage for de­scrib­ing the Holo­caust Memo­rial in Ber­lin as a ‘‘monument of shame’’ and for de­mand­ing a ‘‘180 de­gree turn­around’’ in the way Ger­many seeks to atone for Nazi crimes. – AP

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