Holocaust politics in Germany are a sensitive issue. While many Germans own the atrocities of their horrific past, others would like to distance themselves from the sins of their fathers and move on. That push, though, is often met with some pretty fierce resistance, as in this case.
A replica of Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial has been constructed outside of a far-right German politician’s home after he spoke out against the memorial in Berlin.
“The Center for Political Beauty erected 24 large concrete slabs next to the house of Alternative for Germany (AfD) politician Björn Höcke,” CNN reports, “to serve as a reminder of the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.”
Höcke’s made a controversial speech in Dresden, after which he said that the German’s were the “only people in the world who planted a memorial of shame in the heart of their capital.” The memorial he’s referring to is 2,711 gray blocks that began showing up in Berlin in 2005.
“Höcke also said Germany needed to make a ‘180-degree turn’ when remembering its past and labeled the country’s citizens as ‘brutally defeated people’,” CNN writes.
After, Höcke claimed his remarks were misinterpreted.
“The reaction has been very positive,” Cesy Leonard, artistic director at the Center for Political Beauty, told CNN.
“After the AfD got 13% of the vote at the election I think people were waiting for the other side to rise up. With Germany having the history it has, people are quite happy having us put up the memorial.”
The AfD is the first far-right party in the Bundestag in 60 years. The shift is part of the move that effectively removed Chancellor Angela Merkel from power.
The activists had been planning the monument to the monument well before the AfD’s rise to power, but had to work quickly and in secret. They erected a tent in the garden where they put up the concrete and worked through the night.
“Leonard says the group is now hoping that a crowdfunding campaign that has so far raised over €80,000, or about $71,000, will help ensure the memorial can remain in place over the next five years,” CNN added.
Höcke was not pleased by the memorial. AfD Thuringia spokesman Stefan Moeller posted a video message on his Facebook page. “These so-called ‘artists’ are anything but that,” Moeller said. The memorial, he said, is “an attack on freedom, the integrity of family and a monstrous invasion of one’s life.