Alexander Gauland has been on TV a lot recently. The 75-year-old deputy leader of the Alternative für Deutschland has made plenty of racist statements – I’d list them, but I don’t want to make myself sick compiling a list. He got a lot of attention for his declaration that “people don’t want to have a Boateng as a neighbor”. “A Boateng” refers to Germany’s star soccer player Jerome Boateng – he was born in Berlin, but Gauland apparently doesn’t like his skin color. Even AfD leader Frauke Petry condemned the statement.
With his brown tweed jacket and white combover, the “national conservative” (read: almost fascist) politician has found his niche: Appealing to the racist mob, while assuring them that they’re not racist.
Last Sunday on the TV show Anna Will, Gauland was confronted about a speech he gave in Elsterwerda in Brandenburg. “Today we’re tolerant,” he said, “and tomorrow we’ll be strangers in our own country.” Just a catchy rhyme (in German) for xenophobes? Hardly. This slogan is from a song on neo-Nazi band Gigi & Die Braunen Stadtmusikanten’s Adolf Hitler lives! It’s also been used by the neofascist party NPD. Gauland claims he didn’t know – he just thought it was “a good and smart sentence”.
The thing that really bothered me was what he said next: “I want to keep this country the way we inherited it from our fathers.”
Gauland was born in 1941. The country he inherited was occupying most of Europe. The country he inherited was beginning with the systematic extermination of Jewish people.
I started reading Gauland’s biography on Wikipedia. He was born in Chemnitz, the son of a Schupo (the old word for what we now call riot police). After the war, Chemnitz became part of the German Democratic Republic and was renamed Karl-Marx-Stadt. Gauland finished high school in 1959, but the Workers’ and Peasants’ State did not give him a spot at university.
So what did Gauland do? Are you ready for this? He fled his native country and sought refuge in a foreign land: the Federal Republic of Germany. He passed through the refugee camp in Marienfelde before settling in Gießen. He went to university, paid for by the citizens of a different state.
Gauland’s biography stands in sharp contrast to his racist agitation against refugees. Gauland and his ilk like to point out that the current refugees from Syria aren’t “real” refugees because it’s mostly young men arriving. But Gauland himself was once a young man seeking a better life for himself. In the same way, Petry’s father left his family behind and went to West Germany alone. Berlin’s conservative interior minister Frank Henkel was also a refugee.
I hated Gauland already because he’s a racist scumbag. But I hate him even more now that I know he’s above all a hypocrite.