• Germany's news in English

Pirates try to clear name of 'Nazi' slurs

The Local · 30 Apr 2012, 08:17

Published: 30 Apr 2012 08:17 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Some 1,300 delegates rallied in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, which goes to the polls on May 6, in a bid to sharpen the outfit's profile in Germany's fast-shifting political landscape after weeks of bad press.

Officials for the party, which says it is standing up for more transparency in politics and internet freedom, scrambled to deny allegations of extreme-right influence and neo-Nazi leanings among some of its membership.

The delegates, predominantly young men, overwhelmingly passed a motion at the two-day gathering condemning any denial of the Holocaust after a rash of remarks by a handful of Pirates appearing to flirt with historical revisionism.

"The German Pirate Party declares that the Holocaust is an indisputable part of history. To deny it or relativise it under the pretext of freedom of expression violates the principles of our party," read the motion, which was greeted with a standing ovation.

Soon after, several participants staged a walk-out during a speech by Dietmar Moews, who recently spoke of "international Jewry" - a taboo phrase with an echo of Nazi propaganda.

Other party officials had criticised in Facebook postings the level of government subsidies to Jewish groups, claimed Hitler was justified in invading Poland and compared the swift rise of the Pirates to that of the Nazis between 1928 and 1933.

Such remarks sparked a powerful backlash in the German press and soul-searching in the party ahead of the congress.

Far-right parties are only a marginal force in German politics and have no seats in the national parliament.

Although founded in 2006 in Germany on the model of a Swedish party, the Pirates first came into their own last year by capturing seats in the Berlin state legislature.

They followed up on their stunning success last month with a strong showing in the western state of Saarland.

In both cases they poached votes from the pro-business Free Democratic Party, junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition in Berlin, which failed to clear the five-percent hurdle for representation.

"We were young, we were small but now we have written a page of history," one of the Pirates' leading lights, 24-year-old Marina Weisband, told delegates.

Story continues below…

The party, which has about 25,000 members, is ranked fourth in Germany, with 11-percent support nationally according to an opinion poll published Sunday.

Beyond Schleswig-Holstein, the Pirates are also gunning for seats in Germany's most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia in a poll on May 13, ahead of the general election likely in September 2013.

Voter surveys attribute the party's success to widespread dissatisfaction and boredom with politics-as-usual in Europe's top economy.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

19:46 May 11, 2012 by luckylongshot
Is being anti fascist and wanting transparency and internet freedom all the Pirates stand for? How can they even be a political party if they only have three positions? Why do people vote for them? This all seems a bit unGerman.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd