Introduction & Updates in National Landscape
From the fall of 2022, anti-refugee protests and attacks increased. Local chapters of the AfD also mobilized against shelters for refugees. The topic of peace has also become more popular among rightwing in Germany. From a nationalist point of view, they are against the war in Ukraine. On February 18, 2023, peace demonstrations against the NATO security conference took place in Munich, with 13,000 people participating. Of these, 10,000 participated in right-wing or right-wing openly demonstrations. (German: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/siko-demo-muenchen-stachus-koenigsplatz-sicherheitskonferenz-1.5753990) In February 2023, the extreme right, such as the AfD, held several peace demonstrations of their own. But it is often a kind of Pro-Putin-Pacifism. In early February 2023, the AfD planned to submit a pro-Russian motion to the Bundestag to secure Russia’s rule over conquered territories in Ukraine.
A repeat election was held in Berlin on February 12, 2023. The AfD achieved 9% of the vote – 1% more than in the first election. However, it lost in absolute terms. In polls, the AfD climbed to 17% of the vote in mid-February 2023. (German: https://www.endstation-rechts.de/news/wer-waehlte-die-afd-berlin-ein-blick-auf-die-sozialstruktur-der-waehler)
The AfD celebrated the 10th year of its founding. On February 6, 2023, an AfD event was held near Oberursel in Hesse to mark the 10th anniversary of the party, which was founded in Oberursel in 2013.
There was a big donor to the party. On January 25, 2023, the entrepreneur Hartmut Issner from Weimar donated 265,050 euros to the AfD.
On February 22, 2023, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled that funding political foundations requires a separate parliamentary act. The decision was made in response to the AfD, whose Desiderius Erasmus Foundation has been denied state funding worth millions. The decision makes state funding of the AfD Foundation more likely. (German: https://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/DE/2023/bvg23-022.html)
In February 2023, there was a discussion in Germany about Hans-Georg Maaßen, the former head of Germany’s domestic intelligence service, and his membership in the conservative CDU party. Maaßen had made conspiracy ideological statements. The CDU’s federal executive board demanded that he resign from the party.
The right-wing weekly newspaper Junge Freiheit initiated a solidarity campaign for Maaßen in the form of an online petition against the party expulsion, which more than 47,000 people signed within a few days till the end of 12 February 2023. In mid-February 2023, it became known that the right-wing conservative Hans-Georg Maaßen in Switzerland presides as president of a previously unknown foundation “Atlantis,” founded in 2021, which wants to work against “totalitarianism and contemporary socialism.” There is the suspicion that through the foundation of hidden ways, Maaßen money should be made available. (German: https://www.tagesschau.de/investigativ/wdr/maassen-stiftung-atlantis-101.html)
On February 11, 2023, a neo-Nazi memorial was held in Dresden with 800 people. It is intended to commemorate the bombing of the city in 1945 by the Allies and has been taking place since the 1990s. Among others, activists from the extreme right-wing parties NPD, “Der III. Weg,” “Free Saxony,” and “The Right” took part.
Among the participants were people from the Czech Republic, Serbia, Italy, Spain, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Belgium. Specifically, in Dresden were representatives of the “National Resistance Bohemia” from the Czech Republic and a representative of “Casa Pound” in Italy. (German: https://www.belltower.news/dresden-2023-800-neonazis-laufen-und-netzwerken-146051/)
The small neo-Nazi party Die Rechte, founded in 2012, de facto dissolved in January and February 2023. A part joined the NPD. (German: https://www.belltower.news/parteien-das-ende-der-militant-antisemitischen-naziorganisation-die-rechte-146441/)
On February 16, 2023, the national revolutionary and publicist Jürgen Schwab (* 1967) died. He tried to spread his national revolutionary ideology within the NPD, among others. (German: https://www.endstation-rechts.de/news/der-rechtsextreme-publizist-juergen-schwab-ist-tot)
Transnational Activities & Group Interactions
In February 2022, there were different contacts between the AfD and the far right from other countries: * In early February 2023, members of the extreme right-wing party “Mi Hazánk” from Hungary visited AfD member of parliament Gunnar Lindemann in Berlin. Lindemann had already spoken at a congress of the party in 2022. (Hungarian: https://magyarjelen.hu/berlin-afd-s-siker-mi-hazank-tamogatassal/)
* In February 2023, it became known through journalistic research that AfD member of the Bundestag Petr Bystron secretly visited the dictatorship Belarus from November 16 to 19, 2022, and met there, among others, the now deceased Foreign Minister Vladimir Makai. (https://correctiv.org/aktuelles/neue-rechte/2023/02/08/heimlicher-abstecher-afd-politiker-vertuscht-reise-nach-belarus/)
* On February 23, 2023, the film “Republika Srbska – Struggle for Freedom” (original title: “Struggle for Freedom”) by the Canadian-Serbian director Boris Malagurski was shown in English at the AfD meeting place “State Repair” in Berlin.
Also, the Neonazis maintained contacts: * Members of the “Dělnická mládež” (“Workers’ Youth”) from the Czech Republic, the youth organization of the DSSS, participated in the neo-Nazi commemorative march in Dresden on February 11, 2023. * On February 11, 2023 neo-Nazi group “Werra Elbflorenz” from Dresden and “Black Legion” from Saxony participated in the memorial march in Budapest. The march commemorates the breakout of Hungarian and German soldiers from Budapest on February 11, 1945, from a Red Army encirclement. * A representative of the neo-Nazi micro-party “Der III. Weg” gave a short speech on the “Day of Honor” in Budapest on February 11, 2023. (German: https://der-dritte-weg.info/2023/02/rede-zum-tag-der-ehre-in-budapest/)
The EU-right group “Identity & Democracy” (ID) in the EU Parliament has suspended the membership of AfD MEP Maximilian Krah for three months. He is accused of manipulating a tender in favor of a service provider. At the same time, Nicolaus Fest, the head of the AfD delegation in the group, resigned shortly before. He had been asked to take this step by four of the nine AfD MEPs, who accused him of conducting a “private feud” against Krah.
After attacks by alleged antifas from Germany on neo-Nazis in Hungary, there was an anti-antifa campaign in the extreme right in Germany. Among other things, mugshots of the alleged perpetrators were disseminated by the extreme right-wing network “Ein Prozent.” As a result, the Hungarian newspaper “Magyar Nemzet,” which is close to the Orban government, also published an article based on the information provided by “Ein Prozent.”