Far-right German politician faces second charge of using Nazi slogan

Prosecutors stated Wednesday that a prominent member of the far-right Alternative for has been charged with a second count of using a Nazi slogan at a political event.

Björn Höcke, scheduled to stand trial in Halle on April 18, will face a new charge, which prosecutors in the eastern city intend to add to the existing proceedings.

Höcke, 52, heads the regional branch of Alternative for Germany, or AfD, in the neighboring state of Thuringia and holds significant influence within the party’s right-wing faction. He will lead the party’s campaign in an election set for Sept. 1.

In the case approaching trial, Höcke faces charges of using symbols of unconstitutional organizations. Prosecutors allege that he concluded a speech in Merseburg in May 2021 with the words “Everything for Germany!”

Prosecutors assert Höcke’s knowledge of the phrase’s origin as an SA slogan. They note that Höcke’s lawyers have denied the words’ criminal relevance.

The new case alleges Höcke repeated the offense at an AfD event in Gera, his home state, on Dec. 12 last year, “in full awareness of the punishable nature” of the slogan.

In a statement, prosecutors claim Höcke uttered “Everything for …” and prompted the audience to shout “Germany!” They indicate that Höcke has not yet commented on the latest charges.

AfD’s branch in Thuringia is recognized for its extreme views and is classified as a “known right-wing extremist” group by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency.

Höcke has previously referred to the Holocaust memorial in Berlin as a “monument of shame” and advocated for a complete reversal in how Germany remembers its history. A party tribunal rejected an attempt to expel him.

Recent polls place AfD in second place behind the leading conservative opposition, with the party showing strength particularly in the former communist east.