A high-ranking politician in Bavaria, Hubert Aiwanger, was accused of being antisemitic when he was young. But he did not lose his job because his boss, Markus Söder, said he was sorry and changed his ways.
The trouble started when a newspaper said that Bavaria famous politician Aiwanger had given out a flyer that hated Jews and liked Hitler. The flyer was from his older brother. Some people who went to school with him said he also did the Nazi salute and made fun of Jews.
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Bavaria leader Aiwanger said he had nothing to do with the flyer and that someone was trying to smear him. But then he said he had found the flyer in his bag and got scared by the school staff. He said he was sorry for his dumb mistakes and did not mean to hurt anyone. He also said he was not antisemitic or extremist and that he respected Jews and Israel.
Is Bavaria leader Aiwanger will escape this controversy?
Söder said he looked into the matter and decided that Aiwanger had messed up when he was young but had learned from it and felt bad. He said there was no evidence that Aiwanger wrote or gave out the flyer and that it happened a long time ago. He also said that Aiwanger answered 25 questions that he asked him about it, but some of the answers were not good or new.
Söder said he knew that some people might disagree with him and still have doubts, but he said he was fair and orderly. He also said that Aiwanger should have explained himself better and sooner. He said Aiwanger’s late sorry and clear rejection of the flyer were right and needed.
Söder’s choice to keep Aiwanger in his team got different responses from other parties and groups. Some said Söder was kind and practical, while others said he was weak and gave in to antisemitism. Some also wondered why Söder did it and thought he was trying to avoid problems or elections in Bavaria before the big election on September 26.
Aiwanger, who is also the leader of his own party, FW, said he had no reason to quit or be fired. He thanked Söder for trusting him and said he wanted to keep working for Bavaria’s economy after the virus crisis. He also said he wanted to move on from this issue and focus on the next election on October 6, where his party wants to stay as Söder’s partner.
The antisemitism issue has shown how Germany still struggles with its history of Nazis and Jews. It has also made people wonder about the growth of right-wing groups and ideas in Germany and Europe, especially when people face hard times because of the virus.