Europe

German nationalist leader seeks renewed use of Nazi-era term

  • FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2016 file picture Frauke Petry, Chairwoman of the AfD, Alternative fuer Deutschland (Alternative for Germany), party addresses the media during a press conference in Berlin.   A leading member of the nationalist party Alternative for Germany is facing fierce criticism after calling for a racially charged term once favored by the Nazis to be rehabilitated. Party co-chairwoman Frauke Petry said in an interview published Sunday Sept. 11, 2016  that words such as "voelkisch" should be given "a positive connotation." Frequently used by the Nazis, the term refers to people who belong to a particular race.  (AP Photo/Michael Sohn,file)

    FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2016 file picture Frauke Petry, Chairwoman of the AfD, Alternative fuer Deutschland (Alternative for Germany), party addresses the media during a press conference in Berlin. A leading member of the nationalist party Alternative for Germany is facing fierce criticism after calling for a racially charged term once favored by the Nazis to be rehabilitated. Party co-chairwoman Frauke Petry said in an interview published Sunday Sept. 11, 2016 that words such as "voelkisch" should be given "a positive connotation." Frequently used by the Nazis, the term refers to people who belong to a particular race. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn,file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - The Jan 20, 1983 b/w file photo shows the front page of the Jan. 31, 1933 edition of the German Nazi party newspaper "Voelkischer Beobachter" . Headline reads : SA marches through Brandenburg Gate.  At right a picture of  Adolf Hitler. A leading member of the nationalist party Alternative for Germany is facing fierce criticism after calling for a racially charged term once favored by the Nazis to be rehabilitated. Party co-chairwoman Frauke Petry said in an interview published Sunday Sept. 11, 2016  that words such as "voelkisch" should be given "a positive connotation." Frequently used by the Nazis, the term refers to people who belong to a particular race. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper,file)

    FILE - The Jan 20, 1983 b/w file photo shows the front page of the Jan. 31, 1933 edition of the German Nazi party newspaper "Voelkischer Beobachter" . Headline reads : SA marches through Brandenburg Gate. At right a picture of Adolf Hitler. A leading member of the nationalist party Alternative for Germany is facing fierce criticism after calling for a racially charged term once favored by the Nazis to be rehabilitated. Party co-chairwoman Frauke Petry said in an interview published Sunday Sept. 11, 2016 that words such as "voelkisch" should be given "a positive connotation." Frequently used by the Nazis, the term refers to people who belong to a particular race. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper,file)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2015 file picture a protestor holds a poster with an image of German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing a headscarf in front of the Reichstag building with a crescent on top during a rally of the group Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA, in Dresden, Germany.  Words on poster read : "Mrs. Merkel, here is the people." A leading member of the nationalist party Alternative for Germany is facing fierce criticism after calling for a racially charged term once favored by the Nazis to be rehabilitated. Party co-chairwoman Frauke Petry said in an interview published Sunday Sept. 11, 2016  that words such as "voelkisch" should be given "a positive connotation." Frequently used by the Nazis, the term refers to people who belong to a particular race.   (AP Photo/Jens Meyer,file)

    FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2015 file picture a protestor holds a poster with an image of German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing a headscarf in front of the Reichstag building with a crescent on top during a rally of the group Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA, in Dresden, Germany. Words on poster read : "Mrs. Merkel, here is the people." A leading member of the nationalist party Alternative for Germany is facing fierce criticism after calling for a racially charged term once favored by the Nazis to be rehabilitated. Party co-chairwoman Frauke Petry said in an interview published Sunday Sept. 11, 2016 that words such as "voelkisch" should be given "a positive connotation." Frequently used by the Nazis, the term refers to people who belong to a particular race. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer,file)  (The Associated Press)

A leading member of the nationalist party Alternative for Germany is facing fierce criticism after calling for a racially charged term once favored by the Nazis to be rehabilitated.

Party co-chairwoman Frauke Petry said in an interview published Sunday that words such as "voelkisch" should be given "a positive connotation." Frequently used by the Nazis, the term refers to people who belong to a particular race.

Petry's remarks to weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag prompted a swift backlash from politicians, commentators and historians. They warned that her party is trying to legitimize ideas that once were at the core of Adolf Hitler's Nazi ideology.

In an editorial Monday, daily Neue Westfaelische called Petry's comments "disgusting," while Green Party lawmaker Volker Beck described them as "dangerous arson."