A neo-Nazi from Germany’s ultra-conservative National Democratic Party joined the European Union’s parliament in May and on Monday took a seat on the body’s Civil Rights Committee, according to Jewish World News.
Udo Voigt has praised Adolf Hitler as “a great German statesman” and once claimed that “no more than 340,000” Jews died in the Holocaust, as opposed to the 6 million figure agreed on by historians, according to the Guardian.
Voigt led the NDP from 1996 to 2011, and during that time he led the party in an increasingly nationalist direction. In 2009, he was convicted of glorifying the Waffen SS. The German court unsuccessfully attempted to outlaw the party in 2006, and another attempt is currently underway.
Voigt in 2007 considered nominating Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, for a Nobel Peace Prize. The Guardian has an extensive account of his incredibly controversial actions and statements here.
Following outrage over Voigt’s assignment to the Civil Rights Committee, EU President Martin Schulz denounced Voigt’s beliefs.
“Everyone who denies the Holocaust and who is against human dignity, democracy and plurality will encounter the strongest resistance from me,” Schulz said, according to Jewish World News. “The European Parliament is the place where the representatives of the European people work hard to ensure a good and peaceful future for us on our continent. There is no place for racists and anti-Semites in this house.”
A spokesman for the European Jewish Congress called for members of the EU parliament to keep Voigt from gaining publicity for his views.
“It does the European Parliament no credit to have people sitting on its civil liberties committee who have obviously not only shown no commitment to civil liberties, but have sought to undermine them and to purvey a racist and intolerant agenda throughout their political career,” a spokesman told EurActiv.