Germany: AfD disputes ‘remigration’ investigative report

Image: GEORG HOCHMUTH/APA/picture alliance

An investigative report alleges that far-right figures gathered in a Potsdam hotel to discuss a deportation plan that could also affect German citizens. Participants disputed parts of the account.

Various figures from the German and Austrian far-right scene, including some noteworthy members of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, attended a low-key meeting in a Potsdam hotel to discuss topics including a “remigration” plan that would permit the deportation of people who had moved to Germany, an investigative report by the German non-profit research institute Correctiv published on Wednesday alleged.

That the meeting took place at the Landhaus Aldon guesthouse (pictured above) is relatively uncontroversial, but precisely what was discussed remains highly disputed. Participants said their recollections of the event differed from the published report.

‘Remigration’ plan presented by Austrian far-right figurehead Martin Sellner

The report said Austrian identitarian movement activist Martin Sellner was among the main speakers at the event, which it observed with a combination of hidden cameras, witness accounts and undercover journalists staking out the hotel.

Correctiv’s reported that Sellner put forward a “masterplan” on a “remigration” scheme that would involve identifying people he believed were a burden on society and encouraging them to leave Germany or deporting them. According to Correctiv, this could include naturalized German citizens.

This last point is noteworthy for two reasons: Germany’s AfD has spoken about “remigration” plans, often a euphemism for forcing people to leave the country, of its own in the past but had said it was out of the question for people with German citizenship. Furthermore, given German citizenship rules, the vast majority of naturalized citizens will have given up their other passport to get a German one, meaning that revoking German citizenship would effectively render them stateless.

The report also said that an idea was floated to send people to a “model state” in North Africa, noting how Germany’s Nazi party once discussed a similar plan for sending Jews to Madagascar.

Sellner, however, disputed the report’s account of his speech, claiming it had been shortened and distorted.

“I made very clear that no distinctions can be made between citizens — that there can be no second-class citizens — and that all remigration measures have to be legal,” he told the Reuters news agency in an e-mail.

“Unassimilated citizens like Islamists, gangsters, and welfare cheats should be pushed to adapt through a policy of standards and assimilation,” he added, saying that could include incentives for voluntary return.

Courtesy of DW