German far-rightists drop bid to expel member who downplayed Nazi past
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German far-rightists drop bid to expel member who downplayed Nazi past

Bjoern Hoecke can remain in AfD after he had said Berlin memorial to the Jews killed in the Holocaust is a ‘monument of shame’

Bjoern Hoecke, chairman of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the eastern federal state of Thuringia, gives a statement on February 13, 2017, at the Thuringian regional parliament in Erfurt, Germany. (AFP Photo/dpa/Hendrik Schmidt)
Bjoern Hoecke, chairman of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the eastern federal state of Thuringia, gives a statement on February 13, 2017, at the Thuringian regional parliament in Erfurt, Germany. (AFP Photo/dpa/Hendrik Schmidt)

BERLIN — Leaders of the nationalist Alternative for Germany party ended a drive for the expulsion of a prominent member who suggested the country end its tradition of acknowledging and atoning for its Nazi past.

The party’s national leadership decided unanimously Monday not to appeal last month’s decision by a party tribunal in the eastern state of Thuringia rejecting calls for Bjoern Hoecke’s expulsion.

In February 2017, the leadership voted to start expulsion proceedings against Hoecke, its leader in Thuringia. Hoecke had said Germany needs to perform a “180-degree turn” when it comes to remembering its past, and said the Berlin memorial to the Jews killed in the Holocaust is a “monument of shame.”

Expulsion proceedings were championed by then-party leader Frauke Petry, who left the party acrimoniously last fall.

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