May 24, 2024


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Far-right German politician Björn Höcke is guilty of using the Nazi slogan

Far-right German politician Björn Höcke is guilty of using the Nazi slogan

Image source, Getty Images

A prominent German far-right politician has been found guilty of intentionally using a Nazi slogan in a speech.

Björn Höcke, leader of the AfD party in the state of Thuringia, was on trial for saying the phrase “Everything for Germany!” In May 2021.

The logo is associated with the SA Stormtroopers, which played a major role in the Nazis’ rise to power.

Hockey, a former history teacher, denied knowing the roots of the phrase.

The court in the eastern city of Halle found the 52-year-old guilty of using symbols of a Nazi organization and fined him 13,000 euros ($14,000; £11,200). Deutsche Welle News reports The money will go to a popular anti-extremism programme.

However, Hockey escaped the maximum penalty of three years in prison and being barred from holding public office. He can appeal the ruling.

During the trial that began last month, Hockey said he was “completely innocent.”

But court spokeswoman Adina Kessler-Yensch said the justices were satisfied that Hockey was aware of the ban.

The court’s president, Jan Stengel, told Hockey that he was “an intelligent and eloquent man who knows what he is saying,” according to the German News Agency (DPA).

At a campaign event in the state of Saxony-Anhalt in May 2021, Höcke ended his speech by saying: “Everything for our homeland, everything for Saxony-Anhalt, everything for Germany!”

At another gathering in December 2023, he said: “Everything for…”, to which the audience responded: “Germany!”

Prosecutors had initially sought to try him in both incidents, but the court in Halle decided to try him only in the 2021 rally.

In 2017, Hockey described the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin as a “monument to shame.”

Höcke has headed the AfD’s regional branch in Thuringia since the party’s founding in 2013. The party is leading in opinion polls for elections scheduled in the state later this year.

The AfD in Thuringia is one of three branches officially monitored by the local intelligence agency as a “far-right” group.

The ruling comes a day after another lawsuit, which found that Germany’s domestic intelligence agency was justified in placing the AfD under surveillance on suspicion of extremism.