Court convicts German far-right figure Bjorn Hocke for using Nazi slogan

Hocke was fined for using a Nazi motto – illegal in modern-day Germany – during a campaign rally in 2021.

Judges on Tuesday convicted and fined Bjorn Hocke for using the phrase ‘Alles fur Deutschland’ (‘Everything for Germany’) during a 2021 campaign rally [File: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters]Published On 14 May 202414 May 2024

A court has convicted one of the best known figures in the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party of using a Nazi slogan in a speech and ordered him to pay a fine.

Judges fined Bjorn Hocke 13,000 euros ($14,000) on Tuesday for using the phrase “Alles fur Deutschland” (“Everything for Germany”) during a 2021 campaign rally.

Keep reading

list of 3 itemsend of list

Once a motto of the Sturmabteilung, or SA, paramilitary group, which played a key role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, the phrase is illegal in modern-day Germany along with the Nazi salute and other slogans and symbols from that era. Hocke argued that it is an “everyday saying”.

He testified at the trial that he is “completely innocent”. The former history teacher described himself as a “law-abiding citizen”.

The verdict was delivered months before regional elections in the eastern state of Thuringia, in which Hocke plans to run for governor.

The charge can carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Prosecutors had sought a six-month suspended sentence while defence lawyers argued for an acquittal.

The 52-year-old Hocke is an influential figure on the hard right of the AfD and is considered an “extremist” by German intelligence services. He previously called Berlin’s Holocaust memorial a “monument of shame”.

He has led the AfD’s regional branch in Thuringia since 2013, the year the party was founded, and is due to lead its campaign in state elections set for September 1. A party tribunal in 2018 rejected a bid to have him expelled.

Prosecutor Benedikt Bernzen said in Tuesday’s closing arguments that Hocke had used Nazi vocabulary “strategically and systematically” in the past.

Hocke accused prosecutors of not looking for exonerating circumstances and argued that freedom of opinion is limited in Germany.

Source: News Agencies