German far-right politician convicted by court for using Nazi slogan

Prominent German politician Björn Höcke of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party must pay a fine of $14,000 for using the phrase ‘Everything for Germany!’ during a campaign rally in 2021.

On Tuesday, the state court in the eastern city of Halle convicted one of the best-known figures in the far-right Alternative for Germany party of knowingly using a Nazi slogan in a speech back in 2021 during a campaign, reports The Times of Israel.

Björn Höcke will have to pay a fine of 13,000 euros for knowingly using the phrase ‘Everything for Germany!’ during a campaign speech in Merseburg in May 2021. Prosecutors contended he was aware of its origin as a slogan of the Nazis’ SA stormtroopers, but Höcke has argued that it is an “everyday saying.”

“You are an articulate, intelligent man who knows what he is saying,” Presiding Judge Jan Stengel told Höcke.

Prosecutor Benedikt Bernzen argued in Tuesday’s closing arguments that Höcke had used Nazi vocabulary “strategically and systematically” in the past. For example, he once called the Holocaust memorial in Berlin a “monument of shame” and called for Germany to perform a “180-degree turn” in how it remembers its past.

Höcke argued that free speech is limited in Germany, while asserting his innocence. The verdict comes months before a regional election in the eastern state of Thuringia, where Höcke has been leading the regional branch of AfD since its foundation, 2013. Höcke plans to run for the governor’s job during the election. The court ruling will not have a legal effect on his candidacy.

On Monday, a court ruled in a separate case that the domestic intelligence agency was justified in putting the whole AfD party under observation for suspected right-wing extremism.

 

Photo credit: Ronny Hartmann/Pool/AFP