Shamelessly on principle – media

It is a journey into an oppressive world to which the reporter Thilo Mischke sets out. And at the beginning of his extraordinary documentary “Pro Sieben Spezial: Rechts. Deutsch. Radikal.” the impression could arise that a simple horror story is being presented, which triggers a brief, gloomy shiver with shocking shots. With pictures of scary, crude tattooed neo-Nazis, taken at a right-wing rock festival in Ostritz in East Saxony. Disturbing figures as if from a panopticon of extremes can be seen, which have long been dismissed as marginal phenomena. But that is only the beginning of this long journey through Germany. At the end there is a remarkable film which, over the length of two hours, shows that these and other images are an expression of an increasingly dangerous normality in this country.

“You take cover, you are confident.” This is how Stephan Kramer, head of the Thuringian Office for the Protection of the Constitution, describes the right-wing extremist scene, which is becoming increasingly broad and self-confident. He is now “seriously worried about our democracy”. This undisguised self-confidence in appearance connects the right-wing extremists who reporter Mischke accompanies for the documentary at various locations. From his distance he makes no secret of her attitude in the conversations, but through the way he conducts the conversation he gets her to reveal her crude worldview. And be it that they give explicit vague answers to certain questions about the Second World War or anti-Semitism and that they demonstratively enjoy the fact that they are trusted to do everything.

It shows how networked and broad the spectrum is, from the mail order business with right-wing promotional items to the operator of a martial arts studio with a clear political orientation. The common martial arts connects right-wing extremists, and the aim is always to recruit young people. The viewer gets to know a right-wing extremist from Dortmund who is active nationwide with his martial arts events and does not bother to hide his political background. He also tells you how the right-wing hooligan scene attracts young football fans.

The reporter Mischke researched the scene for eighteen months, excerpts from demos and concerts are only the starting point for personal meetings. For example with a young right-wing extremist who sees himself as part of a “young revolution” and has high hopes. Mischke meets right-wing bloggers and influencers; He also accompanies the Brandenburg AfD member Dennis Hohloch, who is moderately right-wing, but describes the right-wing extremist and long-time state chairman Andreas Kalbitz, who has meanwhile been excluded from the party, as a good friend. It was Hohloch, as is remembered at the end of the film, who suffered a ruptured spleen this summer from an allegedly friendly blow from Kalbitz.

It gets really scary when an AfD functionary and a right-wing blogger meet

The film is particularly impressive where it dispenses with spectacle and exaggeration. Nevertheless, one episode is particularly remembered at the end of which statements are attributed to an AfD top functionary who is not named by name that will reverberate politically.

First of all, the young Youtuber Lisa Licentia is shown, who has become a kind of right-wing star on the internet, especially through her extremely emotional films, which are characterized by open xenophobia. She felt connected to the AfD and was courted by the party; Mischke and his team accompany them when they visit an event organized by the parliamentary group. After that, however, she tells the reporter with tears, she wants to turn away from her racist statements and expose the AfD for what the party really is.

This scene looks like political kitsch, but a little later a dialogue is reported that the viewer does not hear in the original: the film team observes a meeting between the woman and an AfD functionary in a pub without his knowledge. The functionary is not named, he is not shown as a person. But it becomes clear that this is someone who is active in the AfD parliamentary group in an important position, at least at the time of the conversation.

Now it is retold how the party functionary spoke on the phone with the AfD parliamentary group leader Alexander Gauland. Then statements by the man can be heard which – as Pro Sieben explains – were noted down without his knowledge. Trusting the consent of his listener, the functionary speaks, according to the quotes, about the party’s strategy: Germany must be worse off – the worse, the better for the AfD. The AfD must ensure that Germany is worse off.

Then there are incredible quotes about migrants coming into the country. “We can still shoot them all later,” the man is said to have said. “That’s not an issue at all. Or gas, or whatever you want. I don’t care!” When asked, the broadcaster assures that it has affidavits from people who overheard it. At the weekend this quote was already reported in various media. A spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group said on Sunday lunchtime that the film has not yet been known and therefore cannot comment.

“Right. German. Radical.”, ProSieben, Monday, 8:15 pm.