Among the AfD delegates who have been rejected by hotels is Ralph Weber, who up until Sunday believed he would be staying at the “Drei Mohren” hotel.
Weber, a party representative in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern regional parliament, was told at the weekend that his reservation had been cancelled, leaving him and his wife without a place to stay during the conference at the end of June.
Four weeks after making the booking, Weber was told that he wasn’t allowed to stay due to his membership of the AfD, which is known for its anti-Islam stance.
Whilst this shocked the AfD, Weber’s situation isn’t unique.
Other party members were informed by Augsburg’s “Holiday Inn Express” that they were barred from staying there; Die Welt reported that the letter stated the members (including senior figures such as Alexander Gauland, Beatrix von Storch Alice Weidel and Kay Gottschalk) couldn’t stay due to “controversial public statements by the persons mentioned, made against people based on their origin or descent”.
Weber told Die Welt the cancellation reminded him of “Gestapo methods”, and Gottschalk said that it is “worrying and symbolises a toxic climate”.
Wider societal debate
The issues surrounding the AfD’s stay in Augsburg fit into a wider political and ethical debate about how to deal with the AfD. While some liberal commentators argue that the AfD should not be victimized, others, particularly on the left of the debate, claim that they have forfeited their right to equal treatment.
Alexander Gauland, co-founder and leader of the party, was told at the beginning of June that he would no longer be invited onto Frank Plasberg’s talkshow “Hart aber Fair”.
Plasberg rescinded Gaulan’s invitation, because “someone who rationalises National Socialist crimes cannot be a guest on Hart aber Fair. Therefore, Alexander Gauland will not be invited back in the future”.
This followed Gauland’s speech to the “Junge Alternative” (an AfD youth organisation) in Seebach, Thuringia, where he argued that “Hitler and the Nazis are just one drop of bird shit in over 1,000 years of successful German history”.
Prior to this, Gauland had said that “yes, we accept responsibility for those twelve years… but we have a glorious history and that lasted longer than those damn twelve years”.
While Gauland's comments were widely condemned, many commentators thought that it was a step in the direction of censorship to no longer invite the leader of Germany's third largest part onto one of the country's most-watched talk shows.
What do you think: was the hotel within its rights to cancel the bookings of the AfD members, or do you think this decision was undemocratic?