The governor of the German state of Bavaria said on Tuesday that his deputy had not done enough to prove that he, as a high school student, was not responsible for an anti-Semitic flyer and asked him to answer a detailed questionnaire to clear himself of any possible Participation in the scandal to be liberated, which caused an uproar in Germany.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday that Deputy Governor Hubert Aiwanger, aged 17, was suspected of having written a printed flyer calling for participation in a competition entitled “Who is the biggest traitor to the fatherland?”
Among other things, there was a “1. Prize: a free flight down the chimney of Auschwitz”.
Aiwanger has denied writing the flyer. His older brother later came forward and claimed he wrote it.
In a statement on Saturday, Aiwanger also said one or more copies of the flyer were found in his school bag and he was summoned to see the principal. He said he was threatened with police action if he failed to clarify the matter and agreed to a presentation under pressure.
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Aiwanger did not provide any information about the content of the presentation. But that’s the end of it, he said. He also said he “completely” distanced himself from the leaflet 35 years later.
Among other things, Aiwanger has not yet publicly explained why he was carrying the flyers in his school bag.
Governor Markus Söder described the leaflet on Tuesday as “disgusting” and said it was written “in the worst Nazi jargon”.
“It’s not a stupid boy prank or just a youthful sin,” Söder told reporters in Munich, adding that the suspicion that Aiwanger was somehow connected to the leaflet harmed Bavaria’s reputation and the personal credibility of the deputy governor.
He said a meeting earlier Tuesday with Aiwanger, who is also Bavaria’s economy minister, did not fully clarify what exactly happened.
“We listened to Hubert Aiwanger today. We questioned him. However, today’s statements are definitely not sufficient for a final assessment and clarification,” said Soeder. “Many questions remained and remain unanswered.”
Therefore, Soeder announced, Aiwanger would be asked to answer 25 detailed questions in writing.
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Germany’s leading Jewish group, the Central Council of Jews in Germany, also sharply condemned the leaflet’s text.
“It denigrates the millions of victims of the Shoah in a despicable way,” said Council President Josef Schuster, using the Hebrew name for the Holocaust.
In the Holocaust, the Germans and their henchmen murdered 6 million European Jews.
Aiwanger, now 52, heads the Free Voters, a party that is a conservative force in Bavaria but has no seats in Germany’s Bundestag. He has been the state’s deputy governor and economics minister since 2018, when his party became junior partner in a state government under the long-dominant centre-right CSU in Bavaria.
The scandal comes at a particularly bad time for Soeder, who is also the head of the CSU. State elections are scheduled for October 8 in Bavaria and Söder hopes to remain in power in the coalition with Aiwanger and his Free Voters in Germany’s southernmost state.
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One of the two leaders of the Social Democrats, the party of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, criticized Soeder’s efforts to clarify the incident as “insufficient”.
“There have been serious allegations against parts of his government for five days. His deputy is said to have spread anti-Semitic ideas and lost himself in justifications and excuses,” said Lars Klingbeil of the Rheinische Post. “Instead of clarifying these allegations, Soeder is now asking a few questions. That’s a waste of time, that’s not enough.”