There are growing calls for a leading politician in the German state of Bavaria to resign after becoming embroiled in a “Nazi scandal”.
Hubert Aiwanger, the Deputy Minister President of the state and leader of the Free Voters party, is accused of writing a pamphlet mocking Auschwitz and the Holocaust as a high-school student in 1988 when he was 17.
Aiwanger has categorically denied having written the document, although he admitted that he may have been in possession of one or more of the flyers at one stage of his childhood.
He added that, while he did know who the document’s author was, he would let them step forward and reveal themselves if they so wished.
“Neither then nor now has it been my style to rat on other people,” Aiwanger added.
An attempt by German-owned media outlet Politico Europe to link a number of populist parties operating within the European Union to “fascists” has been lambasted by MEPs. https://t.co/LOI5I3c5Lj
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 22, 2023
The politician’s brother Helmut later claimed to be the pamphlet’s author, explaining his actions as being motivated by hatred for his school rather than an ideological conviction.
He also distanced himself from the document’s content, describing it as “unspeakable”.
That has done nothing to placate Aiwanger’s political rivals, with some opponents claiming that merely possessing some of the flyers at any time is enough to justify calls for his resignation.
Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder has summoned Hubert Aiwanger to a special meeting regarding the matter, insisting that it is now imperative that he answers questions regarding the decades-old flyer.
“The allegations are too serious for a deputy prime minister to only comment in writing and leave crucial questions unanswered,” Bavarian State Cabinet member Florian Herrmann said regarding Söder’s decision.
“It’s about Bavaria’s reputation,” he added.
German news outlets are now speculating that the row could have an impact on Bavarian elections.
Due to take place in October, it had previously been predicted that Söder’s Christian Democrats would be able to return to power with the support of Aiwanger’s Free Voters party.
Officials from the region of Middle Franconia in Bavaria have apologised for their rendition of a German folk song, favoured by Nazi troops during the Second World War, at an event in Poland. https://t.co/0CYR0CM6h8
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 8, 2023