Germany’s right-wing Alternative for Germany party has expelled a party member who was a lawmaker in Berlin’s state government after a decade-old photograph surfaced where wine bottles bearing labels with Adolf Hitler’s image could be seen in the background. According to the Guardian, photos of Jessica Bießmann, the party member in question, show her lying on her side on a kitchen counter. Four bottles of wine with labels bearing depictions of Adolf Hitler can be seen sitting on a shelf in the background.
Bießmann, who was elected to the Berlin parliament in 2016 and had served as family spokeswoman for the AfD group, told German media that she regretted that the photo had been taken – but emphasized that it had been taken in the home of a former friend and uploaded to social media 10 years ago. She said she didn’t notice the wine bottles in the background when she decided to share the photo on the Internet.
She said she had not noticed the wine bottles and that the picture had been taken in the house of a former friend. It was uploaded to social media more than 10 years ago and recently reappeared on Twitter.
Party leaders in Berlin said the photos were unacceptable.
AfD’s Berlin state and parliamentary group head, Georg Pazderski, said the photos were unacceptable. He said the Berlin AfD had also begun proceedings to expel Bießmann from the party.
The scandal, according to Guardian, could potentially offer more incentive for Germany’s domestic intelligence agencies to monitor the AfD over its purported links to far-right and neo-Nazi groups after some party members were seen marching with members of far-right parties following a series of gatherings of such groups in an eastern German city, Chemnitz. Nazi symbols are banned in Germany and neo-Nazi parties are illegal. The country only lifted the ban on using symbols in a historical context in video games earlier this year.
However, the party’s leadership has said it has managed to persuade some of its more “problematic” members to leave the party. If surveillance is eventually pursued, the party has also raised the possibility of challenging in a European court of human rights.
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