Far-right meeting in Potsdam discusses mass deportations

On Wednesday, the investigative research centre Correctiv reported on a secret meeting of high-ranking Alternative for Germany (AfD) politicians, neo-Nazis and financially powerful business owners under the title “Secret plan against Germany.” They met on November 25 in a hotel near Potsdam to plan “nothing less” than “the expulsion of millions of people from Germany.”

“Secret plan against Germany” [Photo: Skjermbilde fra Correctiv-beretningen]

The meeting underscores how far the fascist conspiracy in Germany’s ruling class has progressed. Ninety-one years after the handover of power to Hitler, leading right-wing extremists and capitalists are discussing monstrous deportation plans that echo the genocidal policies of the Nazis.

Apparently, the meeting took place just 8 kilometres away from the infamous “Wannsee Conference” villa. It was there that leading members of the Nazi regime planned the “Final Solution,” i.e., the systematic extermination of the Jews, on January 20, 1942. Correctiv also notes that the “secret plan” is reminiscent of the Nazis’ so-called Madagascar Plan. The antisemitic plan was drawn up in June 1940 by the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) and the Foreign Office and aimed to deport 4 million European Jews to the then French colony of Madagascar.

The meeting on November 25 stands in this tradition. According to Correctiv, the keynote speech was given by Austrian right-wing extremist and head of the Identitarian movement Martin Sellner. The research portal summarised the “Remigration Plan” he presented as follows:

There are three target migration groups that should leave Germany, he said. Or, as he [Sellner] says, “to reverse the settlement of foreigners.” He lists who he means: asylum seekers, foreigners with the right to stay—and “non-assimilated citizens.” In his view, the latter are the biggest “problem.”

According to Correctiv, Sellner also blustered on about a “model state” in North Africa; a place where people—Sellner specifically mentioned the figure of 2 million—could be “moved to.”

All the other participants expressed similar views. “The majority of the talks and discussions on this day [centred] around this central point ... ‘remigration,’” writes Correctiv. In his welcome address, one of the meeting’s organisers, Gernot Mörig, emphasised that this was precisely what brought them together: the question of “whether or not we still survive as a people in the West.”

Mörig himself is a leading neo-Nazi and right-wing extremist. Back in the 1970s, he was the federal leader of the “Bund Heimattreuer Jugend” (BHJ, League of  Patriotic Youth), an extreme right-wing organisation that propagated Nazi blood-and-soil ideology. A spin-off of the BHJ, the “Heimattreue deutsche Jugend,” was banned in 2009 due to its neo-Nazi orientation.

In addition to Mörig, a certain Hans-Christian Limmer had invited people to the meeting. Limmer is a former consultant to the Roland-Berger corporation. He gained notoriety through his takeover of the BackWerk multi-million bakery chain and investments in the Hans im Glück burger chain and food supplier Pottsalat.

Other participants at the meeting included leading AfD figures such as Roland Hartwig, personal adviser to co-party leader Alice Weidel, member of the Bundestag (federal parliament) Gerrit Huy, state parliamentary group leader for Saxony-Anhalt Ulrich Siegmund, and Tim Krause, deputy chairman in the Potsdam district. Also taking part were at least two representatives of the Werteunion—Simone Baum and Michaela Schneider—which is affiliated to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and which is currently led by Hans-Georg Maassen, the far-right former president of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, as Germany’s domestic secret service is called.

CDU member and former member of the board of trustees of the AfD-affiliated Desiderius Erasmus Foundation, Ulrich Vosgerau, and Silke Schröder, property entrepreneur and board member of the German Language Association, were also present. Alexander von Bismarck, a descendant of the first German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Henning Pless, a far-right alternative health practitioner and mystic according to Correctiv, an unnamed IT entrepreneur and blood-and-soil Nazi and other right-wing extremists were also present.

While the AfD leadership cynically declared in a press release that it was “not responsible for lectures or other content” given by “private individuals at private events,” representatives of the other Bundestag parties feigned horror and presented themselves as champions against the far-right.

“I appeal to all those who do not want history to repeat itself: show your colours and do not leave the field to the misanthropes,” Social Democratic Party (SPD) General Secretary Kevin Kühnert told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers.

Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr also drew parallels to National Socialism (Nazism) and wrote on X/Twitter: “The plans to expel millions of people are reminiscent of the darkest chapter in German history.” The Correctiv research showed “that the AfD deeply rejects democracy and our liberal basic order.”

Representatives of the CDU, the Left Party and the Greens expressed similar views. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) also announced on X: “We will not allow anyone to differentiate the ‘we’ in our country according to whether someone has an immigration history or not. We protect everyone—regardless of origin, skin colour or how uncomfortable someone is for fanatics with assimilation fantasies.”

Coming from the chancellor and the other representatives of the parties in the governing coalition, this is pure hypocrisy, which primarily serves to cover their own tracks in strengthening the far right and developing and implementing comprehensive deportation plans. While representatives of the CDU were involved in the Potsdam secret meeting and have particularly close personal links to the AfD, the other establishment parties in the state and federal parliamentary committees and at local level are also making pacts with the AfD and have adopted the programme of the extreme right, particularly in terms of refugee policy. These are just some of the latest developments:

  • About a month before the meeting in Potsdam, Scholz appeared on the cover of Der Spiegel with his demand: ‘We must finally deport on a grand scale.’ Since then, politicians from all parties have been outdoing each other with their increasingly aggressive calls to deport as many refugees as possible as quickly as possible.
  • Just a few days after Scholz’s call for mass deportations, the deputy chairman of the CDU, Jens Spahn, called for “irregular migration movements” to be stopped “with physical force” if necessary and for boat refugees to be returned “to the North African coast.”
  • The Greens held an “asylum debate” at their party conference in Karlsruhe at the end of November, in which the entire party leadership advocated intensifying attacks on refugees and migrants, more deportations and a further reduction in the right to asylum.
  • The Left Party is also implementing the anti-refugee programme wherever it is shares government responsibility at state level. Thuringia in particular, which is governed by the only Left Party state prime minister, Bodo Ramelow, is known for its brutal deportations and high deportation rates.

At the European level, too, the ruling class is adopting the refugee policy of the extreme right. A few days before Christmas, representatives of the EU member states and the European Parliament agreed on a massive tightening of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). We commented on the measures cheered by the AfD as follows:

The day will indeed go down in history as the day on which the EU and its national governments openly adopted the anti-refugee programme of the far right. The implementation of the “solutions” approved by the EU means the abolition of the right to asylum, the extension of Fortress Europe, mass deportations and the detention even of women and children in deportation facilities similar to concentration camps.

The German ruling class is also pursuing an essentially fascist programme in all other key political areas. In addition to the massive attack on social and democratic rights and the policy of deliberately letting the COVID virus rip in the pandemic, this is particularly evident in the pro-war policy. In the war against Russia, the NATO powers in Ukraine are arming a regime that cheers on Nazi collaborators such as Stepan Bandera and glorifies fascist army units such as the Azov Battalion.

With their support for Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians, all parties in the Bundestag have openly crossed over into the camp of genocide and dictatorship. While the bombs raining down on Gaza are seen as a German affair of state, peaceful demonstrations against this are banned and entire neighbourhoods are besieged by the police. Refugees and immigrants protesting against the genocide are threatened with deportation and even deprivation of German citizenship by the establishment parties under the false accusation of antisemitism. In all of this, it is the far-right AfD that sets the tone and is a willing partner.

The fact that the ruling class as a whole is promoting terror against refugees and “normalising” genocide, authoritarianism and fascism shows that workers and young people are confronted with comprehensive political tasks in the fight against the far-right plans for violence. Capitalism, which, to paraphrase Trotsky, is once again “regurgitating its undigested barbarism,” cannot be reformed, but must be overthrown by a revolutionary movement of the European and international working class and replaced by a United Socialist States of Europe.

This is what the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party, SGP) and its sister organisations are fighting for. “Workers must counterpose to the EU of the banks and corporations, of mass death and war, the perspective of a United Socialist States of Europe,” writes the SGP in its election appeal for the European elections. “War cannot be ended, human lives cannot be saved and wages cannot be defended without breaking the power of the banks and corporations and placing them under democratic control.”

All those alarmed by the far-right meeting in Potsdam, the genocide in Gaza and the turn to fascism by bourgeois politics as a whole should study the SGP’s programme and join our struggle today.