Europe

Merkel's spokesman condemns populist's Holocaust remarks

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman has criticized a prominent member of the nationalist Alternative for Germany party for suggesting that the country's decades-long tradition of acknowledging and atoning for its Nazi past should end.

Steffen Seibert told reporters Friday the comments by Bjoern Hoecke, the party's leader in Thuringia, "strike at the very core of our self-understanding."

Seibert says "following the crimes of the Nazi era, Germany has chosen the path of an active culture of commemoration so that we never forget, and this path has made us... into a free democratic nation respected worldwide."

Hoecke told party supporters in Dresden this week the Berlin memorial to the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust is a "monument of shame" and said Germany should take a "positive" attitude toward its history.