Ms. Beatrix von Storch of the Alternative for Germany, a pro-German anti-EU party that was founded in 2013 and is now the third largest political party in Germany, wrote on Facebook and said on TV over the weekend that Chancellor Merkel should "go into exile in South America" after her term is up for her safety. She also added that the Muslim "migration" was intentional. From Die Local:
"I'm taking bets that Merkel will leave the country when she steps down – for security reasons," the post continued.
It was a pointed reference to the fact that many Nazi war criminals, such as Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann, fled to South America following the defeat of the Hitler regime in 1945 and escaped prosecution for decades.
Chile was also the final destination for East German Socialist Unity Party (SED) leader Erich Honecker following the reunification of Germany in 1990.
But the South America link is especially resonant at a time when many far-right Merkel opponents are explicitly comparing the Chancellor and her government to Nazi war criminals.
The furthest-gone conspiracy theorists say leaders plan to "replace" the German population with Muslim immigrants – just as the Nazis wanted to replace eastern Europeans with German settlers.
There were audible gasps from the audience at Storch's remarks, and protests from fellow guest Armin Laschet, deputy leader of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
But von Storch – who is also an MEP – refused to back down, although her speculations about Merkel's future were hardly the "return to the facts" she had promised.
Ms. Von Storch is doing something revolutionary- telling the truth and not being ashamed of it.
As for Chancellor Merkel, it is my hope for her sake that she changes her mind and tries to make amends for her errors while she still can. While the common citizen can and is often easily manipulated, too much manipulation can have disastrous consequences for leaders. A German merely needs to look south to what happened to Benito Mussolini and his war cabinet after World War II:
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