Bjoern Hoecke, who is parliamentary leader of the Thuringia branch of anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), was turned away as he tried to attend the memorial service at the former Nazi camp.
The right-wing politician described his ban as a “political controversy” aimed at him before his party is set to contest Chancellor Merkel’s CDU party in September’s federal election.
Mr Hoecke has become notorious for his controversial comments about refugees and race, as well as previous remarks about the placement of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin.
He recently told supporters that Germans were the “only people in the world who planted a memorial of disgrace in the heart of their capital”.
A right-wing politician has claimed his ban from a Holocaust memorial is political
I am shocked and I am appalled about how this day is abused for a political controversy against me
Speaking having been rejected from Buchenwald, he blasted: “I am shocked and I am appalled about how this day, which is dedicated to the commemoration of the darkest chapter of German history, is abused for a political controversy against me.”
Mr Hoecke had previously been told about his barring from attending the event by Thuringia state assembly speaker, Christian Carius, who said: “His presence would be seen as a provocation.”
The Afd slammed the exclusion as “a low point in the history” of the state parliament which, it claimed, “raises considerable doubts about their understanding of democracy”.
The Deputy Chairman of the Buchenwald Memorial insisted that Mr Hoecke had shown no interest in the wishes of the survivors who attended the ceremony.
He was barred after recent comments about a Berlin Holocaust memorial
Rikola-Gunnar Luettgenau said: “Mr Hoecke was not interested in what the survivors of the Buchenwald concentration camp had to say, how they wanted to commemorate their own deceased, how they wanted to celebrate their own deceased.
“That was of no interest to him. He came to the Ettersberg regardlessly, tried to access the memorial and then we issued a house ban [for the duration] of the commotion ceremony.
“Pausing for a moment is not enough any more. It is not enough, this pausing, when we don’t take our view of the past into our daily lives, if we don’t combine the questions and experiences that we make with our actions.
“This is true for a single person and especially for those who voluntarily or professionally, take on the responsibility for a community, for a society, for a country.”
Shocking photographs depict the horrors of the Holocaust
Fri, January 27, 2017
Holocaust Memorial Day 2017 marks the liberation of Auschwitz and remembers the Jewish people killed in World War II, as well as the victims and survivors of other genocides.
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The infamous German inscription reads 'Work Makes Free' at the main gate of the Auschwitz I extermination camp.
Mr Hoecke’s parliamentary colleague Corrina Herold was seen at the memorial event and laid a wreath in the name of the AfD parliamentary fraction of Thuringia.
The controversial politician’s remarks were even denounced by his own party leader, who spoke of his burden on the eurosceptic party.
AfD leader Frauke Petry said: “Bjoern Hoecke has become a burden for the party, with his go-it-alone attitude and constant sniping.”
The AfD started in 2013 as a eurosceptic party, opposed to the European Union’s single currency, but has shifted further to the right, gaining success in state parliament over the past year through its anti-immigrant rhetoric amid the influx of refugees.