Naumann, a US-German citizen, is CEO of the Niles-Simmons-Hegenscheidt (NSH) Group, a 360-million-euro turnover firm with subsidiaries around the world, including in the US. Naumann said NSH, one of the largest industrial companies in Saxony, is currently planning a new plant in Russia.
But Chemnitz Technical University as well as the students’ union is calling for his resignation from their board in light of his comments. The 81-year-old is a member of the board, but Naumann spoke in his capacity as a private citizen and not on behalf of Chemnitz’s Technical University.
Some 20 percent of students in Chemnitz are Asian, “a sign of our internationalism” said State Science Minister Eva-Maria Stange, a Social Democrat. She said his remarks “go against the international character and the principles of tolerance and cosmopolitanism present in Saxony’s higher education system” and derided Naumann’s interview in Freie Presse as having a “clear racist tone”.
“The comments are not subject to interpretation, they have a clearly racist tenor,” Stange said on Thursday.
Naumann had voted for Trump in the presidential elections in November 2016. “I think that Trump – unlike many European politicians – has recognized that the white population must stand together. Americans, Europeans, Australians – they’re roughly 1.5 billion people, but Asians come to 6 billion. In my opinion, the world’s demographics compel the two nuclear powers, America and Russia, to stand together. That is why Trump says that the Americans and Russians must stand together to maintain peace in the world. To that end, of course, you can’t keep rubbing Putin’s nose in the dirt.
Naumann was also asked about the African-American population, which he described as a “difficult question”. He said “African-Americans won’t voluntarily submit to any restrictions” and should therefore be drafted into the military.
“The African-American youth has very much deserted its responsibilities; they leave school early, they don’t even finish elementary school,” he said. “I am afraid the next generation of black youth will again be a social group that lives just as poorly as its parents and grandparents did. There has been no breakthrough – unfortunately. This is needed, but I believe that it can only be achieved by bringing young African-Americans into the military, teaching them discipline and enabling them to learn a trade.”
Meanwhile Chemnitz student council’s anti-discrimination officer, Ines Köpfel, told local broadcaster MDR that “discrimination against non-white people, assigning them negative characteristics such as laziness or ill-discipline, shows a racist mindset and totally neglects to take into account economic and social disadvantages and discrimination.”
In their statement, the student council’s Marius Hirschfeld said that the “boundary of what’s tolerable” had been “massively overstepped.”
The student council also called for Naumann’s Federal Order of Merit from 2001 and a similar civic honor from the eastern state of Saxony from 2004, to be revoked.
In Saxony-Anhalt, 2016, the AfD won 24.3 percent of the vote in state elections – their best result to date in any German ballot.