(JTA) — Now that it has made it into the Bundestag, Germany’s strongest right-wing populist political party is insisting on claiming its place on the board of the foundation for the national Holocaust memorial in Berlin.
The initiator of the foundation and memorial itself, Lea Rosh, has rejected the idea out of hand, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported. But the president of the parliament, Wolfgang Schäuble, has not yet commented on the bid.
The right-wing Alternative for Germany party entered the Bundestag last September with 94 seats, after coming in third place with 12.6 percent of the vote in the German federal elections. The party’s popularity is based largely on its anti-refugee policy.
It is now invoking the law passed in 2000 that established the Holocaust memorial foundation, which stipulates that each party in the parliament is entitled to proportional representation on the board of trustees. The AfD would be entitled to one seat.
The national Holocaust memorial in Berlin was dedicated in May 2005. It consists of 2,711 concrete slabs called “stelae,” arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field, resembling a cemetery.
Last year, AfD legislator Bjoern Hoecke of the former East German state of Thuringia, criticized the memorial, saying that “Germans are the only people in the world who plant a monument of shame in the heart of the capital.”
Now, AfD party leaders have told the Tagesspiegel that the AfD will claim its place on the board, after the Bundestag faction considers who might be their best choice.