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Holocaust survivors urge vote against far-right – DW – 06/04/2024

Holocaust survivors urge vote against far-right – DW – 06/04/2024

This Tuesday (06/04/2024) Holocaust survivors urged young voters to stop the rise of the far-right. European elections This week, telling them: “We couldn’t stop it then. But you can today.”

“For millions, the European elections are the first in your life. For many of us they may be the last,” the eight men and women, aged between 81 and 102, wrote in an open letter presented during a conference press conference. Inside Berlin.

According to polls, the June 6-9 elections could give a boost to far-right parties in several EU countries.

In Germany, opinion polls give the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party around 15 percent of voting intentions, up from 2019 (11 percent), despite a series of scandals tarnishing its image.

“Many Points in Common” with Nazism

Ruth Winkelmann, 95, said she signed the letter “because the AfD is so strong”. The formation “has some points in common” with the Nazis of the 1930s, who were “against different people,” he told AFP.

The daughter of a Jewish father and a Protestant mother, Winkelmann converted to Judaism in order to marry, and remembers seeing broken Jewish shop windows on her way to school as a child in Berlin in the 1930s.

After her father was deported to Auschwitz in 1943, she hid in a barn with her mother and sister. “When the battle was finally over, I fell into my mother’s arms and we shouted with joy: “We survived, now we are free!”

Walter Frankenstein, 99, compared the current political climate to that of the 1930s with a “weak democratic government and a party of dissidents.”

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A mason by training, he was selected for forced labour. He and his wife Leonie went into hiding with their two children and survived the final days of the war, in late April 1945, in a communal bunker.

ct (afp, efe)