German Far-right Hopes to Breathe New Life Into Nazi Term

Words such as 'voelkisch,' frequently used by Nazis, should be given 'a positive connotation,' AfD party says.

Frauke Petry, shown on the backdrop of her party's slogan, is a German businesswoman turned politician. She is the Speaker of the Alternative for Germany movement, together with with Jörg Meuthen.
Reuters

A leading member of the nationalist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) is facing fierce criticism after calling for a racially charged term once favored by the Nazis to be rehabilitated.

Party co-chairwoman Frauke Petry said in an interview published on Sunday that words such as "voelkisch" should be given "a positive connotation." Frequently used by the Nazis, the term refers to people who belong to a particular race.

Petry's remarks to weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag prompted a swift backlash from politicians, commentators and historians. They warned that the AfD is trying to legitimize ideas that once were at the core of Adolf Hitler's Nazi ideology.

In an editorial on Monday, daily Neue Westfaelische called Petry's comments "disgusting," while Green Party lawmaker Volker Beck described them as "dangerous arson."