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'Hitler please come back': new Nazi controversy rocks troubled AfD

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Elena Roon. Photo: DPA
16:02 CET+01:00
There is more trouble brewing for the Alternative for Germany (AfD), as it was confirmed the party is investigating a regional chairwoman for circulating a photo of Adolf Hitler, apparently calling for his return.

It has come to light that an AfD parliamentary candidate for the Nüremberg area, Elena Roon, sent a photo of Adolf Hitler to members on an AfD group Whatsapp chat last summer.

The photo was accompanied with the phrases: "Missed since 1945", and "Adolf please get in touch! Germany needs you! The German people!"

In another photo sent by Roon on the messaging service, Hitler is seen ruffling his hair, saying "Islamists... I forgot them!" 

It was confirmed on Monday that the party is investigating Roon's behaviour to determine whether she has brought them into disrepute.

Roon, who is the chairwoman of the Nuremberg district for the AfD, and also a parliamentary candidate for the party, has denied allegations she is sympathetic to Hitler.

"I distance myself from right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism," she told the Münchener Merkur.

While she conceding that she did post the images, she protested that "under no circumstances" did she want Hitler to come back.

"Anybody who wishes to draw the conclusion that I condone what it says in the images is twisting the truth round completely."

She has not given an explanation as to why she posted the images.

The head of the AfD in Bavaria Petr Bystron, meanwhile, commented that the party "takes this matter very seriously."

There will now be an internal investigation to determine the motivation for the post, and to decide Roon's future in the party.

Bystron said: "If her behaviour has damaged the party, then there will be consequences", but the allegations are "most probably unfounded."

This controversy will only add to the internal turmoil shaking the AfD, as the party recently moved to expel its leader in Thuringia, Björn Höcke.

The politician made a speech in Dresden where he called called Berlin's Holocaust Memorial a "monument of shame". He also urged a "180-degree shift in the politics of remembrance", arguing that Germany was too hung up by its guilt over the war and Holocaust.

AfD co-chief Frauke Petry declared that "for the executive committee, the Dresden speech of January 17th overstepped the limit of what is democratically tolerable within a popular-liberal party".

However Petry's co-leader Jörg Meuthen has backed Höcke, as has deputy leader Alexander Gauland, who called the exclusion proceedings "completely mistaken".

Since Höcke made his comments in late January, the AfD have slipped in polling from around the 15 percent mark to 12 percent.

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