A construction worker intervened according to the party to end the attack and possibly helped to save Magnitz’s life. The investigators believe the brutal attack had a political motive.
The Bundestag member and state chairman of the AfD in Bremen was assaulted by several people at once and sustained serious head injuries.
He was admitted to hospital in a critical condition, a party spokesman said, and added: “Today is a black day for democracy in Germany.”
The Bremen office of the party said in statement: “We will closely monitor the reactions of politicians from other parties in the coming days. Not only the Left, but also the SPD and the Greens support the Antifa and its attacks.”
They described the attackers as “terrorists”.
The incident took place in the early hours of Monday evening in the area of the theater on Goetheplatz, according to the police of Bremen. They say they suspect a political motive because of Magnitz’s “high profile” as he is one of the party’s top people.
The German security service as well as the public prosecutor’s office in Bremen have both taken up the investigation.
The 66-year-old Magnitz is believed to have been surprised after leaving a New Year’s reception hosted by local newspaper the Weser-Kurier. Graphic images posted on the AfD Bremen Facebook page showed Magnitz lying in a hospital bed with a gaping head wound. He was allegedly knocked unconscious “with a piece of wood” that may have been a baseball bat.
Describing the attack as a “politically-motivated attempted assassination”, the AfD said Magnitz was knocked unconscious and suffered a number of blows to the head.
The three suspects remain at large, while investigators are appealing for witnesses to step forward.
The AfD has already been the target of several attacks in the past week. At a party office in Döbeln, Saxony, there was a serious explosion on Thursday. The building suffered considerable damage. Three suspects were arrested.
Over the weekend in Lower Saxony, the house of a Emsland AfD district council member was vandalized. In Berlin unknown people damaged a party office in Berlin with paint bombs.
But according to the Otto Brenner Foundation (OBS), in a published report, the German media has learned over the past year not to report on such attacks.
The Foundation said news about the AfD have become “more steady, less erratic” because journalists have have been ignoring attacks on AfD party members and news on immigration issues.
Rather than endlessly repeating the party’s position on migration, the Foundation says that the media have focused on investigations into party donations, alleged links to neo-Nazis, how the AfD organises its efforts to influence the supporters of other parties, and its highly successful social media strategy.
Im Moment bin ich so erschüttert, dass ich mich außerstande sehe, dies weiter zu kommentieren. Ich werde mich morgen zu diesem feigen und widerwärtigen Anschlag äußern. pic.twitter.com/fBjRbgthHU
— Prof. Dr. Jörg Meuthen (@Joerg_Meuthen) January 7, 2019
The German media has been hounding Magnitz for months. In Bremen-Huchting, last year, the AFD national association wanted to hold a party conference, but to protect supporters from two hostile journalists, they asked the two to leave.
Magnitz wanted to prevent them from taking photos and filming the 30 members present at a supermarket, “which sells Russian products”. The supermarket leased the back of a hall for festivities, it said in the internal invitation mail to “dear party friends”, which Magnitz had signed with “patriotic greetings”.
Magnitz defended his decision at the time saying that he had wished for a “conflict-free Sunday”.