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Höcke in 2019
|Leader of Alternative for Germany in Thuringia|
|Assumed office |
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Member of the Landtag of Thuringia|
|Assumed office |
5 December 2014
|Born||1 April 1972|
Lünen, Westphalia, West Germany
|Political party||AfD (2013–present)|
Björn Höcke was born in Lünen, Westphalia. His grandparents were expelled ethnic Germans from East Prussia. After his Abitur at the Rhein-Wied-Gymnasium Neuwied in 1991, he served in the Bundeswehr and went to law school at the University of Bonn, which he did not finish.
After curricular activities in various schools he worked as a senior teacher at the Rhenanus School in Bad Sooden-Allendorf. He is married and has four children.
As one of the founders of AfD Thuringia, he became Member of the Landtag of Thuringia, the state assembly of the federal state of Thuringia in Germany during the 2014 Thuringian State Elections. Höcke is the speaker of the parliamentary group of the AfD and he is the spokesman of the Thuringia Landesverband (English: Regional Association) of his party. He is said to be part of the “national-conservative wing” of the AfD. His faction of the party is known as the Flügel (the Wing).
In September 2019, Höcke threatened 'massive consequences' to a ZDF journalist who refused to restart an interview after a series of difficult questions and after asking fellow party members whether various quotes are from his book or from Hitler's Mein Kampf. The same month, a court ruled that Höcke could legally be termed a fascist as the description "rests on verifiable fact".
In addition to education policy, family policy is one of his main interests. Höcke advocates for the heterosexual elementary family. He demands an end of what he calls “society experiments” that undermine what he deems the “natural gender order”.
He advocates a reduction of comprehensive schools and a specific schooling of outstanding students as well as a creation of schools that particularly support special needs children. He opposes sexual education in elementary schools and wants to "stop the dissolution of the natural polarity of the two sexes".
Höcke supports the position of Thilo Sarrazin and is viewed as controversial for his criticism of multiculturalism and Islam. His opinions have been observed by media and social scientists as right-wing populist, identitarian, and nationalist.
Political scientists such as Gero Neugebauer and Hajo Funke have commented that Höcke's opinions are close to the National Democratic Party of Germany and deem his speech pattern to be völkisch, racist and fascist.
Abolishing §§ 86 & 130 StGBEdit
In a 2014 email to party colleagues, Höcke advocated the abolition of sections 86 and 130 of the German Criminal Code. Section 86 prohibits the spread of propaganda by unconstitutional organizations. Section 130 criminalizes "incitement of hatred towards other groups of the population" (Volksverhetzung). This would also have legalized Holocaust denial, which is illegal in Germany. "Ethical unsound persuasions" cannot be "avoided by legal measures".
Allegations of antisemitismEdit
Höcke gave a speech in Dresden in January 2017, in which, referring to the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, he stated that “we Germans are the only people in the world who have planted a memorial of shame in the heart of their capital”, and suggested that Germans “need to make a 180 degree change in their commemoration policy”. The speech was widely criticized as antisemitic, among others by Jewish leaders in Germany, and he was described by his party chairwoman, Frauke Petry, in response as a “burden to the party”. As a result of his speech, the majority of leaders of the AfD asked in February 2017 that Björn Höcke be expelled from the party. In May 2018 an AfD tribunal ruled that Höcke was allowed to stay in the party.
Björn Höcke has written with Thorsten Heise, a nationalistic leader of NPD. In 2015 Höcke was accused of having contributed to Heise's journal “People in Motion” (“Volk in Bewegung”) and “The Reichsbote” under the pseudonym “Landolf Ladig”. Höcke denied having ever written for NPD papers, but refused to give a statutory declaration as demanded by the AfD Federal Executive Board.
Höcke in cultureEdit
After Höcke described the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe as a “monument of shame”, the Center for Political Beauty erected a full-scale replica of one section of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin within viewing distance of Höcke's home in Bornhagen as a reminder of German history.
After the Thüringer Allgemeine newspaper mentioned the given name mistakenly as “Bernd”, Höcke showed public indignation about it. Since then, the late-night heute-show consistently refers to him as “Bernd Höcke”. This wrong name was accidentally or intentionally adopted by several other media, e.g. Tagesschau, heute-journal and Spiegel TV.
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- Andreas Kemper: Im Dienste einer großen „Abrechnung“, in: der Freitag, Ausg. 26/2019, abgerufen am 4. Juli 2019.
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- Hannes Vogel: Alte Kameraden. Zeit, 13. September 2018
- "For One Far-Right Politician, Forgetting Germany's Past Just Got Harder". The New York Times. December 25, 2017.
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