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Extinction Rebellion Germany distances itself from founder after Holocaust comment

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Extinction Rebellion Germany distances itself from founder after Holocaust comment
An Extinction Rebellion blockade in Berlin on October 8th. Photo: DPA
15:25 CET+01:00
The British co-founder of Extinction Rebellion sparked outrage in Germany on Wednesday by referring to the Holocaust as "just another fuckery in human history" in an interview with Die Zeit newspaper.

Roger Hallam, 53, compared the murder of six million Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis to other historical massacres and claimed that memory of the Shoah was holding Germany back.

"The extremity of a trauma ... can create a paralysis in actually learning the lessons from it," he told Die Zeit in an English-language interview.

"The fact of the matter is, millions of people have been killed in vicious circumstances on a regular basis throughout history."

READ ALSO: How Extinction Rebellion is training up budding climate activists in Berlin

He cited the Belgian colonialists who "went to the Congo in the late 19th century and decimated it".

Extinction Rebellion groups in Germany were quick to condemn the remarks.

"We distance ourselves from Roger Hallam's trivialising and relativising comments about the Holocaust," tweeted Extinction Rebellion Germany.

"Roger has contravened the principles of XR and is no longer welcome at XR Germany," the group said, using an abbreviation for Extinction Rebellion.

The Berlin branch of the organisation tweeted: "The systematic extermination of millions cannot be normalised. Never. Zero tolerance for anti-Semitism."

Several branches of the organization, such as those in Frankfurt and Dresden, issued similar statements. 

Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany though several politicians have caused controversy with remarks about the Nazi era in recent years.

In 2018, co-leader of the far-right AfD party Alexander Gauland referred to the Nazi era as a "speck of bird shit" in the history of Germany.

His party colleague Björn Höcke also sparked outrage a year earlier, when he referred to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin as a "memorial of shame".

 
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