It was a briefcase in the wrong place that prevented the Stauffenberg assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944. The Wehrmacht officer Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg had deposited a briefcase with explosives in the Führer's headquarters at Wolfsschanze - under a table on the side facing Hitler. After Stauffenberg left the meeting, a conference attendee moved the bag to a different location for better access to the table. This shielded Hitler from the direct effects of the detonation and he survived.
Against this background, a comment must be understood that the AfD member of the Bundestag Thomas Seitz posted on Facebook last Thursday. It is about a photo of Severin Köhler, state chairman of the Young Alternative in Baden-Württemberg and assessor in the Baden-Württemberg state board of the AfD. In the photo, Koehler poses in front of the White House in Washington, the official residence of the President of the United States of America.
Seitz writes underneath: "And? Is the briefcase in the right place?” The politician is obviously alluding to an assassination attempt on US President Joe Biden. This implicitly compares or even equates Biden with Hitler. Thomas Seitz is the legal policy spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group and is attributed within the party to the formally dissolved völkisch-nationalist wing. WELT archived the comment.
The historian Jens-Christian Wagner, Director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation and Professor of History at the University of Jena, is clear: "Thomas Seitz more or less openly calls for the assassination of the American President, which he made with the dictator Hitler equates."
Stauffenberg has been taken over by leading AfD officials for years, Wagner continued. "Not least against this background, the question of the placement of the briefcase in Seitz's commentary can only be understood as an allusion to Stauffenberg's assassination attempt on Hitler."
Wagner is referring to the AfD honorary chairman Alexander Gauland and the Thuringian AfD state chairman Björn Höcke, who see Stauffenberg as a right-wing resistance fighter and precursor of their own politics. Grandson Karl Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg fought back in 2017 against his grandfather being apprehended by the AfD.
Historian Wagner accuses Seitz of following the pattern of "classic right-wing extremist reversal of guilt" with his comment. “By equating Biden and Hitler, Seitz downplayed the Nazi crimes. Historically, equating reverses the situation by making perpetrators out of liberators in World War II,” he said.
Seitz rejects the allegations. "This comment was not an allusion to the Stauffenberg assassination," he said when asked by WELT. When asked what else was meant by the comment, the deputy did not respond to repeated inquiries.
Seitz had already attracted attention in October last year with a questionable comparison in relation to the USA. The attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines are "comparable to '9/11'", i.e. to the Islamist terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 with 2996 fatalities, he said at the time.
Seitz' previous official status as a public prosecutor was revoked in the second instance because of racist remarks after a lawsuit by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Justice in 2021. Within the AfD, Seitz is Vice President of the State Arbitration Court in Baden-Württemberg. In addition to his Bundestag mandate, the lawyer is also deputy AfD parliamentary group leader in the district council of Ortenau.
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