AfD spokesman Christian Lüth scandal: Nazi grandpa just invented?

AfD spokesman Lüth had to go because he sees himself as a fascist. The party leadership wants him to remain free. Now there is new confusion.

The middle between Gauland and Meuthen is on the far right Photo: Soeren Stache / dpa

BERLIN taz | Tuesday afternoon, when the AfD parliamentary group comes together for their session, things could get very busy. The agenda includes the future of press spokesman Christian Lüth, who faction leader Alexander Gauland released from his duties a week and a half ago. The parliamentary group had already discussed Lüth on Monday. According to information from the taz, after intensive discussion, it was agreed that the exemption should initially continue until the summer break. Too many things are still unclear for a final decision.

But the group does not want to simply take note of this. She wants to have a say – and decide. Lüth finally had to face a vote of the parliamentary group before starting the job, the reasoned.

The background to Lüth’s exemption is a WhatsApp chat with a young woman who is supposed to be a member of the tightly conservative union of values ​​- and the more details become public, the more bizarre the matter appears. In the chat, which dates back to the end of last year, Lüth is said to have described himself as a “fascist”, boasted of his “Aryan” lineage and related positively to his alleged grandfather, a corvette captain who served as a submarine commander in the Second World War who had fought the Navy. For this he was honored by Hitler with the Iron Cross.

According to the AfD, Lüth is said to have proudly told other people about his grandfather. But this man, Wolfgang Lüth, doesn’t seem to be his grandfather at all. That was the direct descendants in conversation with the time and the mirror clear. Accordingly, Wolfgang Lüth was only Christian Lüth’s great uncle. Why he apparently invented a Nazi grandfather is only one of the open questions. Lüth himself has so far not made any public statements, and he has also left an inquiry from the taz unanswered.

Who benefits from Lüth’s case?

It is also unclear what relationship AfD parliamentary group spokesman had with the woman and how the chat came about. At first it was said that the woman had applied to the parliamentary group, but that does not seem to be the case. In the end, the chat and the threat to publish it ended up with Gauland – who pulled the ripcord a week and a half ago.

For Gauland, Lüth is not just any person. The former FDP man, who worked for two members of the Bundestag and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, came to the AfD in 2013 and – initially as the party’s press spokesman – always had a feel for how the balance of power shifted at the top. But he was always connected to Gauland, the powerful old man of the AfD – which paid off in 2017 when the party moved into the Bundestag. Sections of the parliamentary group wanted to prevent Lüth as press spokesman because he was considered cocky and unsound and had a reputation among journalists for not being particularly reliable. But Gauland prevailed.

The party and parliamentary group are meanwhile cheerfully speculating about who will benefit from the press spokesman’s exemption internally. Some right wingers in the faction could use the personnel to weaken faction leader Gauland and his co-chair Alice Weidel. Shortly before Easter they had organized a special meeting of the parliamentary group against the will of the top because they were dissatisfied with the Corona course of their leadership.

Tino Chrupalla, who has headed the party together with Jörg Meuthen since December, could also benefit from a new spokesman for the group. Chrupalla had confirmed Gauland’s exemption last weekend, even though he is not responsible for the media or personnel issues as the parliamentary group vice-president.

It can also be heard from the group that it is completely unclear whether Lüth really has to go in the end. Possibly a “connection use” is also sought. However, it is not excluded that the press spokesman will return to his old job at some point. “Fascist” or not.