‘We’re the new Jews!’ – German Green party politician claims critics of the party want Green politicians ‘exterminated’ in bizarre Holocaust comparison

Protesters gathered in the Bavarian town of Erding on Sunday to protest government plans to phase out fossil fueled domestic heating systems.
By Thomas Brooke
4 Min Read

A German Green Party politician has sparked outrage after comparing widespread criticism of his party’s proposed heating reforms to the Nazi persecution of Jews.

After 14,000 protesters turned out in the Bavarian town of Erding on Saturday to demonstrate against regressive plans to ban most new oil and gas heating systems from next year, Munich city councilor for the German Greens, Bernd Schreyer, took to social media to voice his displeasure at the negative attitude protesters are expressing towards his colleagues in the federal government proposing the new law.

“Although there was never a ban on heating, it was possible to incite against the Greens as if they were the ‘new Jews’ who must be ‘exterminated’ in order to bring Germany all happiness and prosperity again,” he tweeted on Sunday.

The unfortunate comparison prompted a major backlash against the politician who was ridiculed by members of the public. Schreyer eventually deleted his tweet and claimed to have been misunderstood, insisting he was not referring to the Holocaust but merely talking about the attitude toward the Jewish community in the late 1920s when Jews were ostracized by German society.

It wasn’t Schreyer’s only faux pas who also accused Bavaria’s Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger, a member of the center-right Free Voters party who opposes the heating reforms, of pushing conspiracy theories onto the public in the same way as “neo-Nazis” and “Trumpists” do.

Schreyer is not alone in his overzealous rhetoric regarding those who oppose the heating laws. A number of his colleagues in the German Green Party and its SPD coalition partner described attendees to the Erding demonstration as being “destructive” and “populist.”

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) accused Bavaria’s CSU leader Markus Söder, who also attended the Erding event, of peddling “fake news” by describing the calls to replace oil and gas heating systems as an “ideology.”

“By showing up at such a demo, Söder confirms the fake news about heating. He is the key witness for the ignorant, who then mock him and vote for AfD,” he said.

The Erding demonstration saw thousands of working-class Germans turn out to oppose the plans proposed by Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) to drastically transition domestic heating toward renewable energy, which critics warn will disproportionately affect lower-income households and hike energy bills even further.

Under the plans, every newly installed heating system would have to be operated with 65 percent renewable energy from next year. Those found to be violating the rules would face hefty fines of up to €5,000, according to the draft law.

The policy is hugely unpopular across Germany. According to polling published in April, around 78 percent of Germans are against the plans, and 62 percent of respondents expect heating bills to rise as a result.

It is in part one factor in a clear shift in public opinion away from the current traffic light coalition of the SDP, FDP, and the German Green Party, and in favor of the moderate Christian Democrats (CDU) and the conservative Alternative for Germany (AfD) party which has recently overtaken German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD party in the national polls.

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