The excluded members were accused of “right-wing extremist activities” without any evidence to support the claims.
“We only know these allegations from the press. We do not have information from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the Military Shielding Service or other security authorities,” a spokeswoman told the German daily the Nordkurier.
The allegations were seen as so serious that the board voted in favor of the exclusion in order to avert damage to the association. The reservists had allegedly participated in shooting training. The persons concerned have accepted the exclusion without resistance, it is said.
On Tuesday, the Mecklenburg SPD member of parliament Dirk Friedriszik had terminated his membership. He accused the association of doing too little against “far-right” members.
“The former chairman of the national association, Helge Stahn, set itself the goal of removing right-wing extremist members from the federation,” Friedriszik said in justifying his decision. But this fight was lost and apparently not continued by his successor.
“Instead, the old networks of right-wing extremists continue to exist and expand.”
The exclusion of the members was in connection with the investigation of two members from Mecklenburg who are said to have made a list of political opponents who would have to be killed in a supposed crisis case. But such a document has not been found yet.
The taxpayer-funded association led by a CDU politician, have been trying for a while to block the AfD . Last month, a forum on “The Future of Domestic Security in Germany” attempted to address security challenges and their impact on Germany.
The event was hosted by the association, which states in its mission that it has to “awaken and maintain the interests of security in society”. It was organised by its approximately 220 full-time employees funded from the Federal Government: in 2018, 17.3 million euros were transferred from the budget of the Ministry of Defense.
But not all political groups have been invited. The largest opposition faction, the AfD, was not allowed to join in the discussion – and was outraged by it.
“The exclusion of the AfD at such a prominent event, especially on the subject of internal security, is completely unacceptable,” says Rüdiger Lucassen, defense spokesman for the party. His assumption: “I can interpret the behavior of the association only as a politically motivated boycott.”
Lucassen said AfD voters were contributing with their tax money to the organisation. Therefore, it should not be a matter of “whether the Bureau liked the positions of the AfD, but the open exchange of opinions, as befits an enlightened democracy”.
The AfD has extensive Bundeswehr experience, since it has several former professional soldiers in parliament. Lucassen himself is a colonel off duty.
The exclusion of AfD was even more peculiar considering the invitation of the left-wing MP Jelpke, for whose party “the Bundeswehr is in part an enemy”.