Björn Höcke

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Bernd[1] Björn Höcke (1972–) is the chairman of the right wing party Alternative für Deutschland in the state parliament of Thuringia, Germany.[2] He is one of the central figures of the German new right.

The former teacher is known for his extreme right wing views and casual use of Nazi-inspired language. He is frequently in the headlines for espousing racist nationalist views and is considered extreme even by his racist party's standards[3][4] — so much so that he is, in fact, under surveillance by the VerfassungsschutzWikipedia[5] an agency founded for the protection of the constitution (but itself under fire for several high profile affairs, most famously the NSU scandal).[6] In July 2021, the AfD won a lawsuit against the provincial association of Thuringia for them having slandered Höcke by declaring him publicly to be a case for examination.[7]

Demonstrating his casual flirtations with Nazi language, in May 2024, Höcke was found guilty in a HalleWikipedia court of using the phrase "Alles für Deutschland!" (Everything for Germany!), a slogan associated with the Nazi "storm troopers" or Sturmabteilung,Wikipedia in a 2021 AfD rally. (Höcke denied knowing the phrase's roots, despite, as mentioned, being a former history teacher.)[8]

Biography[edit]

Höcke was born on April 1st 1972 in Lünen, Westphalia. His grandparents were German refugees from East Prussia after the Second World War[note 1] a little ironic when considering it was fascism (and a failed war) which lost them their home. The rot of his racist nationalist fervor started early through family ties, with his father being an anti-communist, anti-semite who complained of the unification of Germany as "the end of the German people". According to Höcke, he entered the youth organisation of the conservative CDU in 1986 because of his admiration for then-chancellor Helmut Kohl.[9] In 2006, a letter written by him was published in a local newspaper, in which he claimed that "never before and never after it there were so many people killed so fast as in Dresden '45", using the exaggerated numbers of British holocaust denialist David Irving, and that "the goal was to kill as many German people as possible". [10]. Since then, he had contacts to many neonazis, like Martin Hohmann and Karlheinz Weißmann[11].

Landolf Ladig[edit]

Since 2011, an unknown person published various articles with outright neo-Nazi narratives in various far-right magazines, using the pseudonym "Landolf Ladig".[note 2] Höcke himself claims that he is not Ladig, but does not want to make a statutory declaration on the issue. [12] For a person who is absolutely not Höcke, whoever is behind Landolf Ladig surely does know a lot about his home and does use many terms that are almost only used by him.[13]

Positions[edit]

Since Höcke is very visible in German politics and says way too many things that are intentionally designed to be offensive, here are just some snippets on what he believes or claims to believe.

LGBT+ and family values[edit]

Höcke naturally dislikes the LGBTQ+ community and frequently resorts to scare-mongering. Any effort to educate on sexuality or gender is inherently trying to sexualize children, to recruit them to homosexuality or to dissolve the "natural" order and the integrity of the "traditional" family. Any attempt to even study the idea of gender is considered taxpayer guzzling state ideology that is harmful to society. His preferred idea of a family consists of man, woman and three children. Höcke posits that there is a "natural" polarity between man and woman that excludes any other gender and on which the sophistication of humanity is supposedly built on.[14] As usual, he draws comparisons between trans and mental illness. Classy.[15][16]

Race[edit]

Höcke claims that "Africans" have evolved to multiply in greater masses while "Europeans" have evolved to optimally use their living space. Because of this, he claims that if this continues and that if Europe continues to allow migrants to enter, Europeans will soon be replaced or go extinct (Sound familiar?). Therefore he demands a complete closure of all the borders to African migrants. Similarly, he claims that there are several "very distinct peoples with unique identities" in the U.S. which in his opinion has lead to miscegenation. This "downfall" (literally Abstieg = "descent"), should be avoided in Europe.[17] He is totally, absolutely not a fascist though.[18] He also claims that multiculturalism or any sort of diversity is a form of destruction of what he calls Leitkultur (roughly "Leading culture") which he obviously thinks is exactly whatever he believes it is and should be predominant. According to his views, the cultural fabric of Germany is being destroyed through "mass import" by "multiculture-extremism". Of course, Höcke is very quick to use any sort of tragedy for his goal of stirring up hate on migrants.[19][4]

Climate change[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Climate change

Höcke does not deny that the climate is changing, but he does claim that it is not anthropogenic, a form of denialism nonetheless.[20] He is for reforestation and better watering systems.[21]

Religion[edit]

Höcke claims to be a Christian though he does not seem to like the Bible for having too much desert and not enough forests in it.[22] He claims that there is an antagonism between Christianity and Judaism.[23] Being anti-American as well, he condones Wolfgang Gedeon‘s conspiracy theory that the U.S. is controlled by Jews and which also claims that the U.S. plans to annex the rest of the world by Islamising other Christian nations. This of course makes total sense because as we all know, nobody is as pro-Islam and anti-Christian as the U.S. It also makes total internal sense that a Jewish-controlled U.S. would try to spread Islam in Christian countries.[24] Höcke utilizes traditional stereotypes about Jews, but is careful not to directly name Jews.[25]

According to Höcke, Islam is not compatible with "European culture" and should be driven back to the Bosporus Strait.[26] However he does sometimes allow for tolerance and say that Muslims who follow the law and integrate well into society have to be tolerated. Yet, he generally considers Islam violent and dangerous and claims there is systematic Islamization going on.[24] Some of his former students have said that he is a fan of Nordic-mythology and has claimed to believe in "the spirit of nature".[27]

EU[edit]

The EU is a neoliberal, globalising-agency led by George Soros, according to Höcke. Former chancellor Angela Merkel is his client, and anyway, all the other parties and the EU are run by "elites" and "cartels".[28][25]

Historical revisionism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Historical revisionism

Höcke has demanded a "180° turn" on remembrance culture and has called the Berlin Holocaust memorial a "memorial of shame". In a case of epic trolling, an activist artist group has rented the property beside Höcke's home and built a small version of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial for him to enjoy.[29] Höcke has claimed that the bombing of Dresden had as its sole goal the killing of as many people as possible and apparently hints at David Irving as his source though he doesn't explicitly name him. [30] He employs old canards like comparing victims of the Nazis with those of Stalinism even when he is on a visit to a concentration camp.[31] Colonization by the German Reich, in his view, wasn't completely negative — he claims it has helped enrich the colonized people. Because of this, he thinks that Germany should not have to give back stolen artifacts.[32]

Authoritarianism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Authoritarianism

Naturally, spoken like a true right-wing hypocrite, he claims that the "state" is indoctrinating children through school into believing certain ideas. At the same time, forcing his particular set of ideas onto the populace is okay because… well… he's a bigot. No surprise there. He says for instance that excursions to concentration camps by schoolchildren are violating the schools supposed "neutrality". The teacher's union has publicly spoken out against him for his substance-free rants.[33][34]

Language[edit]

Höcke is arguably quite cunning in his use of language, as least when one considers the dog whistling of ignorant people a form of wit. He employs a lot of Nazi-inspired language, sometimes making it just vague enough to be able to scream persecution if somebody points it out.[35] As usual for right-wing nutcases, he feels like he and the right are being persecuted when scrutinized.[36] Höcke tries simultaneously to flatter the far-right and the center-right by hiding some of the nasty ideas behind euphemisms or a veil of "concern". However, it is quite clear that he aims to provoke in order to kickstart discussions on subjects to pull them into the spotlight.[37][38]

Certified fascist[edit]

According to a court ruling, it is legal to call Höcke a fascist. This does not mean that the court deems him a fascist, only that the action of calling him a fascist publicly is not derogatory but an acceptable judgement based on things he has said and done which might be construed as "fascist". It's not an insult if it's true.[39]

Another important note is that analysts have noted Höcke and most other AFD members to be standard neo-fascists rather than Neo-Nazis, but have inherited some base ideas from the Nazis (such as extreme natalism, ethnonationalism, and xenophobia) and have a few legit Neo-Nazis in their movement.[40]

A Swiss News-Portal called "Watson" has posted a quiz where one can guess who has uttered certain statements, Höcke or Hitler, showing that there is some overlap and similarities in their rhetoric and Hocke using fascist/nazi language.[41]

Possible election[edit]

Unfortunately, many politicians in the AfD (Hocke included) seem poised to win in the 2024 election in Germany, which harkens back to the country’s dark past under fascism, this time with another fascist group that is on the rise.[42]

Notes[edit]

  1. In the aftermath of said war, some 12-14 million ethnic Germans were 'relocated' from non-German states
  2. For English speakers to understand how completely absurd this name is, please imagine Donald Trump writing under the name of "Countryman Corey"

References[edit]

  1. Bernd Höcke oder Björn Höcke: Wie heißt der AfD-Spitzenkandidat in Thüringen? Merkur.de 02.12.2020
  2. Björn Höcke Thüringer Landtag
  3. AfD-Spitze setzt Landeschef Höcke unter Druck Der Spiegel 24 April 2015
  4. 4.0 4.1 AfD's Björn Höcke: Firebrand of the German far right Deutsche Welle 7 February 2020
  5. Der Verfassungsschutz nimmt die Höcke-AfD unter die Lupe Neue Zürcher Zeitung 6 September 2018
  6. NSU-Prozess: Rolle des Verfassungsschutzes bleibt fragwürdig Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung 5 September 2014
  7. Bekanntgabe der AfD als Prüffall rechtswidrig Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen 12 July 2021
  8. "German far-right politician Björn Höcke guilty of using Nazi slogan", BBC, 2024 May 14
  9. Der wohl meistgehasste Politiker Deutschlands Neue Zürcher Zeitung 31 November 2017 (Archived from the original on 26 April 2019)
  10. Leserbrief aus 2006: So tickte Björn Höcke als Lehrer merkur.de, 23. January 2017
  11. Mein Mitschüler, der rechte Agitator zeit.de, 18. February 2016
  12. Wer ist Landolf Ladig? AfD-Landeschef Björn Höcke verklagt jurios.de, 16. June 2021
  13. Junge Gemeinde Jena verklagt Höcke taz.de, 16. October 2019
  14. AfD will sich mit rechten Thesen profilieren Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten 31 July 2014
  15. Höcke will Schwule und Lesben nicht akzeptieren queer.de 16 May 2018
  16. Kaum steht fest, dass Höcke in der AfD bleiben darf, macht er wieder Stimmung gegen Homosexuelle Der Spiegel 16 May 2018
  17. Der Volksempfänger Zeit Online 21 January 2019
  18. "Blanker Rassismus": Höcke und die Fortpflanzung der Afrikaner Süddeutsche Zeitung 12 December 2015
  19. Höcke nutzt Frankfurter Bahnhofsattacke für Forderungen Süddeutsche Zeitung 4 August 2019
  20. 250 Menschen gegen die AfD – Höcke leugnet Klimawandel Main Post 10 August 2018
  21. Höcke (AfD) will Thüringen an den Klimawandel anpassen COOLIS 16 August 2019
  22. Kommentar - Björn Höcke holzt die Bibel ab Deutschlandfunk 30 January 2019
  23. "Sie stellen einen Antagonismus dar": Wegen seiner Äußerungen und Auftritte: AfD berät über Björn Höckes Rauswurf FOCUS Online 18 December 2015
  24. 24.0 24.1 Björn Höcke und der Verschwörungstheoretiker Wolfgang Gedeon Thüringer Allgemeine 22 July 2016
  25. 25.0 25.1 So verbreiten Höcke und Co. antisemitische Verschwörungstheorien WELT 10 August 2020
  26. AFD: Höcke: Mit Islam soll am Bosporus Schluss sein Frankfurter Allgemeine 28 January 2018
  27. Wir haben mit einem seiner ehemaligen Schüler über Björn Höcke geredet VICE 25 January 2016
  28. Verfassungsschutz: Höcke-AfD verbreitet judenfeindliche Denkmuster RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland 10 August 2020
  29. Björn Höcke bekommt Holocaust-Mahnmal vor die Nase gesetzt Frankfurter Allgemeine 22 November 2017
  30. Leserbrief aus 2006: So tickte Björn Höcke als Lehrer Münchner Merkur 23 January 2017
  31. This Journal is itself center-right and is criticizing him for this: Die Stunde der „Neuen Rechten“ Cicero 29 June 2016
  32. So raffiniert wie zwielichtig Süddeutsche Zeitung 26 July 2018
  33. Thüringer Landesregierung und Lehrer distanzieren sich von AfD-Brief an Schulen Ostthüringer Zeitung 14 November 2018
  34. Lehrerverbands-Chef schreibt an Höcke: „Offen gesagt, fühlen wir uns genervt“ News4teachers 30 November 2018
  35. A left-wing journal: Die AfD gewinnt immer Die Tageszeitung 16 September 2019
  36. ZDF-Interview mit Björn Höcke in voller Länge Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen 15 September 2019
  37. Thüringen: Die Sprache von AfD-Chef Björn Höcke Frankfurter Allgemeine 29 October 2019
  38. Acht Zitate zeigen, wie gefährlich der AfD-Rechtsaußen wirklich ist FOCUS Online 24 January 2017
  39. Björn Höcke darf als "Faschist" bezeichnet werden Der Spiegel 28 September 2019
  40. The dangerous resurgence of Germany’s far right, explained
  41. Nach Interview-Eklat im ZDF: Höcke oder Hitler – wer hat's gesagt? Watson 16 September 2019
  42. https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-fascism-populism-europe-bjorn-hocke-immigration-elections-eu/