Peter Felser, a member of the Bundestag for the hard right party “Alternative for Germany” (AfD), is facing accusations of being responsible for producing extremist material, some of which has been banned by a German court.
Felser is the owner of wk&f Kommunikation, a production company that between 2001 and 2003 made several campaign videos for an extreme right party called the Republikaner, a party that has been monitored by the authorities for its extremist activities.
One video was banned by a Court for “endorsing, denying or downplaying the Holocaust”, whilst another was described as “clearly of antisemitic character”.
Felser has expressed his regret and stated “indeed, they could be understood as a denial of the Holocaust”. However, this apparent contrition offers little comfort. AfD has faced a string of antisemitism scandals. One of their candidates appeared to face little-to-no action from the Party despite having shared an image of Hitler captioned “Missed since 1945 … Adolf, please get in touch! Germany needs you! The German people!” in a private Whatsapp group. Another infamously described a Holocaust memorial as a “monument of shame”. A member of the Party’s board also promoted a slew of antisemitic conspiracy theories. There is little to suggest that the antisemitism present at the top of the Party isn’t also common amongst its rank and file members, with antisemitic material sometimes being displayed by members at its events, such as here.
The prevalence of antisemitism within AfD’s political establishment casts an unfavourable light on Felser’s business activities. Worse still is the fact that the arrangement wk&f Kommunikation had with the Republikaner was clearly an ongoing business relationship, not just a one-off transaction. The nature of the work clearly required wk&f Kommunikation staff to become familiar with the sort of organisation they were working with, as they were producing content for them. This means that in a business owned by Felser, at best, there were those who thought it acceptable to profit off antisemitism.
Unfortunately, Felser simply expressing his regret leaves a lot to be desired, and leaves many questions to be answered about the nature and extent of his personal dealings with these far-right extremists. At a time when Germany experiences increasing antisemitism and a political culture that many Jews perceive as drifting worryingly to the right, the prevalence of antisemitism in a Party that recently polled over 12% in Federal elections will only contribute further to a growing sense of unease among the country’s Jews.