German Jewish leader ‘threatened’ after criticizing far-right AfD
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German Jewish leader ‘threatened’ after criticizing far-right AfD

In speech on Holocaust victims, Charlotte Knobloch called party a threat to democracy, sparking torrent of ‘threats and insults’

Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Jewish Community Munich, gives a speech during a ceremony to inaugurate a memorial site at the former Muehldorfer Hart concentration camp, on April 27, 2018. (AFP Photo/dpa/Matthias Balk)
Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Jewish Community Munich, gives a speech during a ceremony to inaugurate a memorial site at the former Muehldorfer Hart concentration camp, on April 27, 2018. (AFP Photo/dpa/Matthias Balk)

BERLIN, Germany — A Jewish community leader in Germany said Thursday she had been targeted with threats and hate mail “almost by the minute” since criticizing the far-right AfD party.

Charlotte Knobloch had Wednesday called, in a speech about Holocaust victims, the Alternative for Germany a threat to democracy, sparking a walk-out of AfD regional politicians.

A day later, Knobloch, 86, told a local newspaper that “since then, I have received coarse verbal abuse, threats and insults by email and telephone almost by the minute.”

“The danger the party and its supporters spell for our liberal democracy has become more than clear and this shows more than ever that the democrats in our country must stand united against them,” she told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.

Knobloch, a former leader of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, now heads the community in the Bavarian city of Munich.

She added that she “had expected the AfD to use the Bavarian state parliament for self-promotion — I just hadn’t expected a row of such proportions.”

The five-year-old AfD, the country’s biggest opposition party, opposes multiculturalism, Islam and the immigration policies of Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom it labels a “traitor.”

One of its most radical figures, Bjoern Hoecke, has sparked outrage with statements on Germany’s Nazi past, calling Berlin’s Holocaust monument a “memorial of shame” and urging a “180-degree shift” in the country’s culture of remembrance.

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