The co-leader of the far-right nationalist Alternative for Germany party has dismissed the Nazi era as a "speck of bird poop in more than 1,000 years of successful German history," triggering an uproar on social media.
The dpa news agency says Alexander Gauland told the party's youth movement Saturday that Germans must take responsibility for 12 years of rule by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party, but claimed it's only a small part of Germany's history.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the secretary general of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party, responded on Twitter that "50 million victims of war, the Holocaust and total war are just bird poop" for Gauland and his party.
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She says Gauland's comments reveal the true nature of a party hiding behind middle-class respectability.
Members of the extremist party have made disturbing comments in the past, including calling the Holocaust memorial in Berlin “a monument of shame” and saying that Germany ought to honor the memories of soldiers who served under the Nazi regime.