Anti-immigrant lawmakers in Germany walk out on speech by Holocaust survivor

Anti-immigrant lawmakers in Germany walk out on speech by Holocaust survivor
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Lawmakers from the Alternative for Germany party walked out of the Bavarian Parliament on Wednesday after a Holocaust survivor accused the anti-immigrant party of minimizing Nazi crimes.

All but four lawmakers from the party walked out during the speech given by Charlotte Knobloch to commemorate the Holocaust, according to Reuters.

"A party is represented here today that disparages those (democratic) values and downplays the crimes of the National Socialists," Knobloch, president of the Jewish Community in Munich, said during her speech to the regional assembly.

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The rest of the lawmakers, representing the other five parties in Germany, applauded Knobloch’s remarks.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the political scene last year after winning 22 seats in parliament to become the country's fourth-largest party.

"The so-called AfD bases it politics on hate and exclusion and doesn't abide by our democratic constitution," Knobloch said in her speech.

The party has rejected charges of racism and defended its actions on Wednesday.

"It is scandalous that the president of the Jewish community in Munich abused a memorial service for the victims of Nazism to defame the whole AfD and its legitimate and democratically elected faction using evil blanket insinuations," Katrin Ebner-Steiner, the party’s parliamentary leader in Bavaria, told Reuters.

Knobloch, who used to serve as head of Germany's Central Council of Jews, told the news outlet she was not surprised when the lawmakers walked out.

"The supportive reaction from the democratic factions made me really happy," she wrote in an email, according to Reuters. "Democrats in our country must stand against the AfD also in the future."