Column the right fringe: the inconspicuous second afd foundation

For a long time there was a dispute about an AfD-affiliated foundation. But Wilhelm von Gottberg, a member of parliament, has been running a right-wing foundation since 2009.

What Erika Steinbach can do, he has been able to do for a long time: Since 2009, the AfD member of the Bundestag from Lower Saxony, Wilhelm von Gottberg, has been running his own foundation Photo: dpa

A dispute over the establishment of a party-affiliated foundation ran for months in the AfD before a majority was found for the Desiderius Erasmus Foundation headed by Erika Steinbach. An AfD member of the Bundestag from Lower Saxony had long since acted from the milieu of the expellee associations: Wilhelm von Gottberg. The former federal chairman of the "Landsmannschaft Ostpreuben" (LO) has been running the "Foundation for Education and Remembrance" since 2009.

However, the foundation is not looking for a broad public. It does not have its own website on the Internet. It is registered in the Lower Saxony foundation directory with its registered office in Luchow, and for its orientation it states briefly and succinctly: "Promoting international understanding and fostering a willingness to engage in dialogue between young people in the states of Europe". More does not have to be indicated – more is not indicated.

The orientation of the supposed international understanding is in any case more apparent via the chairman. Before Gottberg went to the AfD in 2013, the 78-year-old belonged, like Steinbach, to the hard far right spectrum of the CDU. At the fiftieth anniversary of the "Landsmannschaft" in 1998, he complained that the expellees were denied the "return to our homeland of East Prussia" and he called for a lifting of the visa requirement that existed at the time so that the "human right to the homeland" could also apply to Germans.

He also called for "bilingual place-name signs" and "state-sponsored ethnic group autonomy for Germans" in Poland. Not without declaring: "We have been waiting for a long time for an official request for forgiveness by Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia for the genocidal crimes of expulsion".

Gottberg wants to put an end to "cult of guilt"

Three years later, Gottberg complained in an editorial in the "Ostpreubenblatt" that "the genocide of European Jewry" was still being "used to criminalize the Germans." Referring back to Italian neo-fascist Mario Consoli, he wrote that this "propaganda steamroller is not weakening with the years, but getting stronger, and in more and more states the Jewish ‘truth’ about the Holocaust is being given legal protection." In 2017, he tried to qualify this statement. In his candidacy speech for the Bundestag that same year, he promised to work to end the "cult of guilt" in the Bundestag.

The Foundation is planning its fall seminar in Luneburg from November 16 to 18. At the Hotel Seminaris, they plan to discuss "The German ‘Revolution’ of 100 Years (1918)." Overall leader and one of the speakers: Gottberg.

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