Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland, top candidates of the anti-immigration party Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) .
(photo credit: WOLFGANG RATTAY / REUTERS)
German-Jewish leader Charlotte Knobloch described the success of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the nation’s parliamentary election as a “true nightmare.”
She said this in a statement released late Sunday night after preliminary results emerged showing that the controversial party had received more than 13% of the vote – causing widespread concern across the Jewish world.
This result would allow the party to enter the Bundestag for the first time, as Germany’s third-biggest party, something Knobloch called “a true nightmare and a historic turning point.”
This is the first time the farright will be represented in the German parliament in almost 60 years.
Knobloch, president of the Jewish community of Munich and Upper Bavaria and former president of the German Jewish Council umbrella group, said she was deeply concerned about Germany’s democracy in light of the exit polls.
“This changes the political debate and culture, and impairs the image of Germany in the world,” she warned.
Referring to the party’s platform and candidates, she said: “They are back again... those who stir up hatred and disdain.”
She was warning of antisemitism, racism, revisionism and historical reformation.
The AfD’s top candidate, Alexander Gauland, said earlier this month: “If the French are rightly proud of their emperor and the Britons of Nelson and Churchill, we have the right to be proud of the achievements of the German soldiers in two world wars.”
Founded in 2013 by an anti-euro group of academics, the AfD surged as an anti-immigrant group in the wake of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision to open German borders to over a million migrants, most of them fleeing wars in the Middle East.
Knobloch called on the future government and the opposition “to provide nonpartisan solutions to the central problems and fears of the people, over terrorism, integration and immigration, internal and external security, poverty, economic stability....”
She added: “Every democrat is called upon to preserve and defend the dignity, freedom and democratic nature of the Federal Republic of Germany.”Reuters contributed to this report.