In the affair about an old anti-Semitic leaflet, the pressure on Bavaria's Deputy Prime Minister Hubert Aiwanger does not ease. It is unclear when the Free Voters boss will send the written answers to 25 questions that Prime Minister Markus Söder had asked for in a timely manner. Most recently, Aiwanger publicly defended himself after further allegations had been made about his school days.
There will be a special session on the affair in the Bavarian state parliament on Thursday next week (September 7th). State parliament president Ilse Aigner will convene the so-called interim committee at the request of the Greens, SPD and FDP, the state parliament announced on Thursday.
This body can deal with urgent matters after the last plenary session before a state election. Only some of the members of the state parliament are members there - currently there are exactly 51.
Aiwanger rejects further allegations
Meanwhile, Aiwanger's account on online network X (formerly Twitter) posted the following message: "It's getting more and more absurd. Another person claims I had Mein Kampf in my school bag. Who would come up with such nonsense!?" As a rule, the Free Voters boss writes all the posts himself. There was initially no confirmation as to whether that was the case this time as well. The "Süddeutsche Zeitung" had previously quoted an unnamed former classmate of Aiwanger as saying that he often carried Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" with him in his school bag. She can confirm this because she held the book in her own hands.
"I've never been an anti-Semite or an extremist," said Aiwanger of the German Press Agency in Munich. "I don't remember any allegations against me as a teenager, but they may be due to things that can be interpreted one way or another," added the 52-year-old.
Hitler salutes, Jewish jokes and anti-Semitic leaflets
Before that, the Bavarian Minister of Economics had said on the fringes of an appointment in Donauwörth to the Welt TV station in the presence of other journalists: "It is definitely the case that perhaps in adolescence one or the other can be interpreted in one way or another what is considered 15- year-old here is accused of me." However, he emphasized: "But in any case, I've been saying since adulthood, the last few decades: not an anti-Semite, not an extremist, but a philanthropist." He could "put all hands on fire for the last few decades". What is now being discussed from adolescence surprises him a little.
The background was new allegations that came from a former classmate. In the 1980s, when entering the already occupied classroom, Aiwanger is said to have "shown a Hitler salute" from time to time, as the man told the ARD magazine "Report Munich", according to a classmate from the 7th to 9th grade. In addition, Aiwanger "very often imitated these Hitler speeches in this Hitler slang". Even anti-Jewish jokes were "definitely made". What "strong attitude" was behind it, he said: "I have no idea."
The "Bild" said Aiwanger to the accusation of showing the Hitler salute: "I don't remotely remember that I should have done something like that." Aiwanger's X profile said on Wednesday morning: "
On Saturday, Aiwanger had denied in writing that he had written an anti-Semitic leaflet during his school days that the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" had reported on. At the same time, however, he admitted that "one or a few copies" were found in his school bag. Shortly thereafter, Aiwanger's older brother admitted to having written the pamphlet.
Auschwitz Committee Vice: No authentic apology
The executive vice president of the International Auschwitz Committee, Christoph Heubner, misses a real apology from Aiwanger. "To this day, Hubert Aiwanger has not found a single authentic word of apology towards the victims of the Holocaust and the survivors of Auschwitz, who were mocked and degraded by the unspeakable anti-Semitic leaflet," said Heubner in Oświęcim, Poland.
"Every day the devastating image that he and his party friends paint in dealing with the affair and with which they constantly inflict further damage on Bavaria and Germany increases," said Heubner. “If Hubert Aiwanger is now also declared a victim and the upcoming state elections are being misused by the free voters in Bavaria with the term “dirty campaign” as a vote on the leaflet affair, this only seems cynical and impertinent.”
Söder: "All questions must be clarified beyond any doubt"
The deputy leader of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Dirk Wiese, called for Aiwanger's resignation. "What sees the light of day bit by bit every day is an attitude that can only have one consequence: resignation," he told the "Rheinische Post". If the head of the Free Voters stays in office longer, it will "become more and more of a problem" for Markus Söder, too, said Wiese.
A new state parliament will be elected in Bavaria on October 8th. According to all the latest polls, the CSU and Free Voters can continue to govern afterwards. Söder said on Tuesday that he wanted to continue the coalition. However, coalitions were "not dependent on a single person". The Free Voters in Bavaria rallied behind Aiwanger and complained about a "smear campaign".
"All questions must be clarified beyond doubt. There must be no suspicion left," said Söder on Wednesday. CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt also asked for further clarifications on Thursday. "So far he has remained very, very tight-lipped. That is certainly not appropriate for the current situation," said the chairman of the CSU deputies in the Bundestag on Welt-TV.