A leading member of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has been fired after footage was released that showed him suggesting immigrants be shot or taken into gas chambers.
German media reported on Monday that Christian Lueth was dismissed by the party and stripped of all official roles. He had already been suspended from his position as party spokesperson in April, after describing himself as a “fascist” and bragging about the “Aryan lineage” of his grandfather in an email.
Lueth was secretly filmed by broadcaster ProSieben for its documentary about Germany’s far-right saying that migrants could be killed. The documentary was scheduled to air Monday evening.
In a meeting with a young right-wing YouTube personality Lisa Licentia, who has since left the far-right movement, Lueth was recorded saying, “The worse things get for Germany, the better they are for the AfD.”
“We can always shoot them later; that’s not an issue. Or gas them, as you wish. It doesn’t matter to me,” he added, according to the Daily Sabah.
Die Zeit newspaper, who was shown the footage, said nothing suggested that Lueth was joking when he made these remarks.
According to the paper, Lueth was stripped of his roles at the request of the head of the AfD faction in the German parliament, Alexander Gauland, after an internal review.
“The statements attributed to Lueth are totally unacceptable and can in no way be reconciled with the goals and policies of the AfD or the AfD faction in the German Bundestag,” Gauland told the Sabah.
Gas chambers were widely used by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany during World War II. Six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, many of them suffocated in these chambers.
Known for their vehement campaign against immigration, the AfD entered Germany’s parliament during a 2017 election and is the largest opposition party against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government in the national legislature.
The party has been under heavy scrutiny from the country’s domestic security services amid concerns of the AfD’s ties to extremism and neo-Nazi groups, a claim party officials have denied.
While the group saw a surge in supporters in 2015 after hundreds of thousands of refugees were allowed into Germany, nationwide support for the right-wing party dropped 6 percent in the past year, according to a survey from the Berlin-based Forsa Institute for Social Research and Statistical Analysis.
Newsweek reached out to AfD for comment but did not hear back before publication.