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The AfD was founded in April 2013 by a group of right-wing Eurosceptics and moderate populists. Since the rise of the völkisch and nationalist inner-party grouping called ‘The Wing’ (Der Flügel) in 2015, it has made a pronounced rightward shift, becoming part of the extreme right. Instances of openly racist, anti-Semitic and historical-revisionist statements have become rampant among the party’s politicians and leaders, leading to the revival of national-socialist concepts and terminology. Björn Höcke, now de facto sole leader of The Wing, has become known for his racist theorising, e.g. differentiating between a ‘life-affirming African propagation type’ and a ‘European placeholder type’, which led racism researcher Paul Jobst to describe him as having a ‘derogative, racist cadence’, engaging in ‘demagogic, völkisch-nationalist rhetoric’, and employing ‘crude fabrications’, a description that would fit many of the party’s front-row agitators. One of the two AfD federal spokesmen, Alexander Gauland, has repeatedly made racist and revisionist remarks, such as calling Hitler and the national socialism era only a ‘bird dropping’ in Germany’s 1000 years of history and alluding to the medieval millenarianist concept of the ‘Thousand Year Reich’, revived during the Nazi era. André Poggenburg, The Wing’s co-leader until August 2018, called people of Turkish origin living in Germany ‘stateless vermin’ and alluded to Left party politicians as ‘malignant growths on the German nation’s body’ (Wucherungen am deutschen Volkskörper).

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