Politician’s career in limbo over decades-old anti-Semitic flyer

Media outlets have alleged that the economy minister of Bavaria, Germany authored it when he was in high school

A scandal involving a decades-old anti-Semitic flyer has left a question mark hanging over the career of Hubert Aiwanger, Bavaria’s economy minister and deputy governor of the southern German region. The official denies media claims that he authored the offensive pamphlet in high school.

On Saturday, the Suddeutsche Zeitung reported that Aiwanger may have penned and distributed the flyer at a school in Mallersdorf-Pfaffenberg in the 1987-88 academic year. According to the media outlet, he was reprimanded by the school administration for the incident at the time.

The article alleged that the flyer was styled as a quiz, with “everyone who is German and stays on German soil” invited to take part. Among the questions was: “Who is the biggest traitor to the fatherland?” Contenders were said to be “required” to present themselves at the “Dachau concentration camp for a job interview,” the paper claimed, adding that the winner was offered a “free flight through the chimney in Auschwitz.

Commenting on the report, Bavarian Minister-President Markus Soder stated that “these accusations must now be clarified. They must be dispelled, and dispelled completely.

The Social Democrats (SPD) – the party of Olaf Scholz and part of the ruling traffic light coalition government – called for an extraordinary meeting of the Bavarian parliament, which is currently in recess. The party said in a statement that it is “inconceivable that an author of such lines… holds a public office in our region one day longer.

The Greens urged Soder to fire his deputy if the allegations are found to be true.

Aiwanger insisted that he “didn’t author the paper in question and consider[s] the contents to be disgusting and inhuman.

He acknowledged, however, that he had in fact been found in possession of “one or several copies” and was sent to the principle over it. Aiwanger added that he knows who actually penned the flyer.

Later on Saturday, his brother Helmut, who he went to school with, told the media: “I am the author of this flyer reported on in the press.” He added that he strongly regrets his past actions.

Bavarians will head to the polls to elect a new regional parliament on October 8. Soder, who represents the Christian Social Union (CSU), previously said he wants to retain his coalition with Aiwanger’s populist Free Voters party.

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