Now that it has made it into the Bundestag, Germany’s strongest right-wing populist political party is insisting on claiming its place on the board of the foundation for the national Holocaust memorial in Berlin.
The initiator of the foundation and memorial, Lea Rosh, has rejected the idea out of hand, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported. But the president of the parliament, Wolfgang Schäuble, has not yet commented on the bid.
The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party entered the Bundestag last September with 94 seats, after coming in third place with 12.6 percent of the vote in the German federal elections.
It is now invoking the law passed in 2000 that established the Holocaust memorial foundation, which stipulates that each party in the parliament is entitled to proportional representation on the board of trustees. The AfD would be entitled to one seat.
The national Holocaust memorial in Berlin was dedicated in May 2005. It consists of 2,711 concrete slabs called ‘stelae’, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field, resembling a cemetery.
Last year, AfD legislator Björn Höcke of the former East German state of Thuringia, criticised the memorial as well as Nazi guilt, saying that “Germans are the only people in the world who plant a monument of shame in the heart of the capital.”
This week, Rosh told the Tagesspiegel that inclusion of the AfD is “not only bad, but impossible.” She is asking Bundestag President Schäuble to look into legal options to barring the party from claiming this entitlement. As Bundestag president, Schäuble is also automatically chair of the foundation for the Holocaust memorial.