Barely a month has passed since Pirna became Germany’s first city ruled by a Neo-Nazi sympathizer. Now another, albeit smaller city, Großschirma, follows. Once again, the city is located in the former East Germany. Again, the city is in the reactionary state of Saxony – about halfway between the Neo-Nazi death squad NSU hotspot of Chemnitz and the state’s capital Dresden

Saxony is by far Germany’s most reactionary state. Recent polling has the conservative-reactionary CDU sitting at 31% while the neo-fascist AfD gets 34%. Put together, the far-right-conservative bloc would capture 65% in the next election – a 2/3 majority with 86 out of 120 seats. State elections are scheduled for 1 September 2024, half a year from now. This is the state in which a second AfD mayor has just been elected. It might indeed indicate a normalization of neofascism or the “Mainstreaming of Fascism” as extremism expert, Henry Giroux, calls it.

Großschirma elected the PhD-furnished engineer Rolf Weigand (AfD) as its new mayor. Like Trump, Weigand also blames crime on foreigners. Perhaps he would like to imply that his beloved Aryan Herrenrasse is crime free. As a crypto-fascist male representing the white race, Weigand is fighting against what he has dreamed up: the “advertising for trans-sexuality” that supposedly takes place in schools. This is spiced up with his far-right combat against so-called “gender-madness.” To warn against all this, Weigand uses what has become known as his “teddy-penis-campaign.” The fact that Weigand and his party are using a poster with a young girl holding a Teddy Bear that has a penis can only be seen as an attempt by Weigand to use child pornography to attract rather than repel voters. 

Does he need the votes of perverts to win? Is there a secret cabal of “Kinderporn” aficionados in the AfD? Has anyone reported the potential illegality of the poster to the police and the BKA (Federal Criminal Police Office)?

Weigand is part of a far-right anti-feminist and anti-queer troupe that believes in right-wing conspiracy narratives. This is something that has always been part of the AfD’s propaganda repertoire. 

Based on these hallucinations, Weigand and his far-right party deeply resent what they believe is a kind of “sexual diversity in schools.” He wants to free Saxony from the scourge of diversity. Hardly any other AfD apparatchik in the state of Saxony pursues the hated diversity education in schools as pedantically and as obsessively as the über-zealous fundamentalist Rolf Weigand

In addition to his xenophobic and racist incitements, Weigand likes to share his crypto-fascist agitation against sexual diversity education on his Facebook page – which for unknown reasons has not been censored or taken down yet. Beyond that, he also does not shy away from spreading his semi-fascist ideology in public appearances (e.g. 11 May 2023 at an Erzgebirge event).

He operates in cahoots with Kerstin Kramer – an anti-abortion activist from the anti-feminist alliance “Demo für Alle” (demonstrations for all). Both are part of the Christian-fundamentalist Erzgebirge region of Saxony. Supporting the ideology of Hitler’s Mutterkreuz that once supported the birth of Aryan children who would then be made ready to fight Hitler’s racial wars, today’s AfD fancies “childbearing women” in Saxony.

For these ideologies, the AfD has a special “education and science policy spokesman”: Rolf Weigand who likes to segregate women in Saxony according to “women capable of giving birth”, their country of origin (read: race), age, and nationality. It separates Aryan (wanted) from non-Aryan (unwanted). The latter group is to be deported, according to a secret AfD-Neo-Nazi meeting.

Beyond all that, Rolf Weigand and his ideological platoon is interested in spreading their anti-feminist, racist, dehumanizing, and anti-Semitic conspiracy ideology. One of their main ideologies is found in the “Great Replacement theory” – this is a fantasy that Germans will be replaced by non-Aryans. One must emphasize here once again: There is no such thing as an Aryan race!

On his Facebook page, Weigand spreads his anti-feminist, anti-queer, and racist conspiracy stories. Among other things, he also refers – favorably and supportively – to the deeply reactionary Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán – mostly for Orbán’s outspoken anti-queer ideology. Orbán is also a hero to the fascist Republicans in the USA who would like to transform their own country by using Orbán’s Hungary as a model.

The central motivation for Weigand’s völkische (read: Neo-Nazi) anti-feminism is the delusion that there is an alleged threat from so-called sexualization of children (what he has done in his posters) and the unproven existence of something he calls “gender gaga.” Both of these delusions are what clinical psychologists describe as projections. “People tend to project because they have a trait or desire that is too difficult to acknowledge. Rather than confronting it, they cast it away and onto someone else.”

These projected desires are much in line with a local but very violent Neo-Nazi party called “Free Saxony” that also incites violence against diversity-oriented education, feminists, the emancipation movements, and queer people – everyone who doesn’t fit into the Volksgemeinschaft

Obviously the Free Saxony adherents project their self-loathing onto others because they cannot tolerate innocence when they compare it to their own evil selves. 

Especially in the rural regions of Saxony – where Großschirma is located – a Neo-Nazi seizure of public space (Landnahme) is clearly noticeable. This means the creation of ethnically cleansed No-Go! areas for anyone who does not look to them like what they think an Aryan should look like. 

These are geographical zones where the hunting of and attacks on virtually anyone who does not fit into the Volksgemeinschaft picture can be carried out at will

According to RAA-Saxony’s most recent statistics, there were 21 targeted attacks against queer people in Saxony in 2022. This is an increase of 163% compared to 2021. The path from AfD propaganda to violence is rather short. And it seems they have completely forgotten how Nazi soldiers were encouraged to cross-dress.

For years, the AfD has been working towards capturing Saxony and taking it into its hate campaign against sexual diversity. The driving force behind this is Rolf Weigand. The AfD wants to prevent sex education at schools. Perhaps the idea is to crank up teenage pregnancy levels to the same standard as in the South of the USA. This might be the plan of newly elected Großschirma mayor Weigand.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people took to the streets again last weekend to rally against Germany’s far-right and the AfD. And nevertheless, the 4,400 eligible voters of the small Saxon town of Großschirma elected an AfD mayor. A whopping 59.4% voted for Rolf Weigand of the neofascist AfD.

During his election, Weigand prevailed against a candidate of a local independent citizens’ association who received only 22.3% as well as against a CDU candidate who got 18.2%. The voter turnout was 73.9%. 

The outcome of the election in Großschirma shows that Germany, as a country, is drifting apart. There appears to be a democratic West and an anti-democratic East. 

When put under a magnifying glass, the regional political culture in rural East-German regions is dominated by the AfD, which has largely established and, worse, normalized its right-wing hegemony – virtually nobody opposes the AfD. As a consequence, Weigand has maintained significant popularity. He was sitting at roughly 40% voter support before the election campaign. During the election campaign, there was persistent hostility against other candidates. After the election, AfD apparatchiks issued a deceptively called “forget-me-not” campaign to camouflage its anti-democratic election tactics.

In Großschirma’s city council – where Weigand has been a member for some time – he had already pursued a tactic of fundamental opposition to the city’s administration. City council meetings dragged on. Weigand alone filed six complaints. It appears as if the AfD is following Goebbels’ dictumIt will always remain one of the best jokes of democracy, that it gave its deadly enemies the means by which it was destroyed.

As regards the AfD’s strategy, Weigand and Großschirma is by no means an isolated case in terms of hostility to democracy. Germany-wide, 72% of non-AfD (read: democratic) mayors have been insulted, threatened, and physically attacked since the AfD appeared on Germany’s political landscape.

Some people in Großschirma are already asking the question: “How can democratic life continue when one party is no longer a partner in a democratic debate?” In Großschirma – and especially after the AfD street fighting and thuggish organization “Pegida” has been running free for years – the mood has increasingly become antagonistic, rough, hateful, spiteful, resentful, and violent. 

This is a region where the AfD achieved very strong results in Germany’s 2017 federal election. This allowed semi-fascist AfD apparatchiks like Heiko Hessenkemper – who dreams of eliminating the free press – to spread far-right conspiracy ideologies about the aforementioned great replacement as well as what he calls “repopulationism” – Nazi vocabulary.

Großschirma’s new AfD mayor is 39 years old. Before the youngish Weigand became mayor, he was the Führer of the AfD’s even more radical, outspoken, and openly Neo-Nazi youth organization Jungen Alternative (JA). The JA is classified as “certified right-wing extremists” – translated into everyday language, this rather awkward official police terminology means: a deep-seated hatred against democracy. Weigand himself is one of the key drivers of far-right radicalization. He has been ticking all the right boxes to become an AfD apparatchik. Most importantly, Weigand attended meetings run by the völkische Höcke wing – the most zealous Neo-Nazi group that now dominates the AfD. Without the seal of approval from the internal party Führer – Björn Höcke – virtually nobody can get anywhere in the AfD.

Unsurprisingly, Weigand is not just a Höcke-stooge, he is also linked to the neo-fascist Identitarian subdivision. With his election, there is no longer any doubt about the right-wing extremist orientation of the AfD in Saxony – and perhaps even Saxony as a state.

Overall, the far-right AfD is strongly opposed to the basic principles of Germany’s liberal democratic order. It resents migration, and worse, the party fights against the guarantee of human dignity as enshrined in the Basic Law of Germany’s constitution

Instead of democracy and human dignity, the AfD pushes the typical Völkisch-nationalist ideology of Nazism. 

The AfD also employs common far-right anti-Semitic and conspiracy-ideological positions which are regularly used by a right-wing terror platoon called Reichsbürger. Recently, the infamous Reichsbürger planned the violent overthrow of Germany’s democratic government to install a military dictatorship. Unlike the Reichsbürger, who reject democratic elections outright, Weigand’s outfit achieved his success with a participation rate of almost 74% during the election. In other words, Weigand and the AfD won a democratic contest. Which is exactly how the Nazi’s entered parliament and eventually took over the country.

With that win, Weigand became the AfD man of the hour. However, his far-right history goes back a few years. He joined the party in 2013 and has been sitting in Saxony’s state parliament since 2018. 

Since 2019, he has also been sitting in the district council of Mittelsachsen and in the city council of Großschirma. Neo-Nazis know how to use democratic institutions for their end goal – the elimination of democracy.

Weigand and his AfD are on an electoral upswing – at least in the former East-Germany. In pubic polling for this year’s state elections set in the East-German states of Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg – scheduled for September – the neo-fascist AfD is way ahead of Germany’s democratic parties. 

And if that is not ringing alarm bells in Berlin and the rest of Germany, it should be. The wolf (Höcke) is at the door and the bear (Putin) is not far behind him.

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Born on the foothills of Castle Frankenstein, Thomas Klikauer is the author of over 960 publications including a book on Alternative für Deutschland: The AfD – published by Liverpool University Press.

Danny Antonelli grew up in the USA, now lives in Hamburg, Germany and writes radio plays, stories and is a professional lyricist and librettist.

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