Udo Pastörs

Udo Pastörs is the former chair of the NPD. It is suspected that Pastörs has good connections to the neo-Nazi movement. “Pastörs, Udo,“ Netz gegen Nazis, http://www.netz-gegen-nazis.de/lexikontext/udo-pastoers. Some believed that the party would radicalize further under Pastörs’s leadership. Antonie Rietzschel, “Extrem nach innen und außen”, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, January 10, 2014, http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/udo-pastoers-als-npd-chef-extrem-nach-innen-und-aussen-1.1858845 . Pastörs has in the past reportedly advocated racist and anti-Semitic views and was convicted of sedition in 2010. “NPD-Funktionär Pastörs verurteilt,” Die Zeit, May 6, 2010, http://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/zeitgeschehen/2010-05/npd-pastoers-volksverhetzung. According to Pastörs, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state parliament is a “talking shop” full of “bandits.” “Pastörs, Udo,“ Netz gegen Nazis, http://www.netz-gegen-nazis.de/lexikontext/udo-pastoers. In October 2019, Pastörs lost an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that Holocaust denial was not protected speech.Agence France-Presse, “Holocaust denial not a human right, European court rules,” Times of Israel, October 3, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/holocaust-denial-not-a-human-right-european-court-rules/.

According to reports, Pastörs is a former member of the neo-Nazi organization “Viking youth,” which was banned in 1994. He is also believed to have twice visited the colony of Colonia Dignidad in Chile, which was co-founded by Nazis. Toralf Staud, “Das wahre Gesicht der NPD,” Die Zeit, January 12, 2014, http://www.zeit.de/politik/2014-01/npd-neuer-parteichef-pastoers-ist-ein-hardliner. He joined the NPD in the 2000s. Toralf Staud, “Das wahre Gesicht der NPD,” Die Zeit, January 12, 2014, http://www.zeit.de/politik/2014-01/npd-neuer-parteichef-pastoers-ist-ein-hardliner.

Following German reunification, Pastörs settled down in Mecklenburg with the alleged intention of building an ethnic model community. Toralf Staud, “Das wahre Gesicht der NPD,” Die Zeit, January 12, 2014, http://www.zeit.de/politik/2014-01/npd-neuer-parteichef-pastoers-ist-ein-hardliner. In September 2006, Pastörs was elected to the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

He ran against then NPD Chair Udo Voigt in 2009 and 2010 for the chairmanship losing both times. According to reports, this failure was due to suspicion that’s that Pastörs was too radical and that his victory would make a ban of the party more likely. Toralf Staud, “Das wahre Gesicht der NPD,” Die Zeit, January 12, 2014, http://www.zeit.de/politik/2014-01/npd-neuer-parteichef-pastoers-ist-ein-hardliner. Following the resignation of NPD Chair Holger Apfel in late 2013, Pastörs became first managing chair of the NPD and was formally confirmed in the role in January 2014. Christina Hebel, “Rechtsextreme in der Krise: Hardliner Pastörs ist neuer NPD-Chef,” Der Spiegel, January 10, 2014, http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/rechtsextreme-in-der-krise-hardliner-pastoers-fuehrt-npd-a-942805.html. In November 2014, the party elected Frank Franz to succeed Pastörs as chairman.History of the National Democratic Party,” NPD, November 20, 2014, http://www.npd-sh.de/sprachen/1%20%20english.php.

Pastörs has been charged multiple times for hate speech and Holocaust denial. At a February 2009 public NPD meeting, he described Germany as a “Jew republic” and warned that Turks would overtake Germans because of their high birthrates.“Pastörs, Udo,“ Netz gegen Nazishttp://www.netz-gegen-nazis.de/lexikontext/udo-pastoers; Carl Ziegner, “Bösartige Propaganda,” taz, July 28, 2009, http://www.taz.de/!38200/. In January 2010, he spoke out against Germany’s “cult of guilty” during parliament’s Holocaust memorial ceremony.“German court fines far-right parliamentarian,” Deutsche Welle, August 16, 2012, https://www.dw.com/en/german-court-fines-far-right-parliamentarian/a-16173614. Both offenses resulted in fines and suspended prison sentences. The administrative court in Schwerin fined Pastörs 6,000 euros to be paid to Schwerin’s city library for children’s books for his January 2010 remarks denying the Holocaust. He also received an eight-month suspended sentence. The administrative court in Schwerin ruled that Pastörs’s comments were not protected by freedom of speech or parliamentary immunity.Agence France-Presse, “Holocaust denial not a human right, European court rules,” Times of Israel, October 3, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/holocaust-denial-not-a-human-right-european-court-rules/; “German court fines far-right parliamentarian,” Deutsche Welle, August 16, 2012, https://www.dw.com/en/german-court-fines-far-right-parliamentarian/a-16173614.

On October 3, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejected Pastörs’s complaint that his 2012 conviction trampled on his right to free speech.Agence France-Presse, “Holocaust denial not a human right, European court rules,” Times of Israel, October 3, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/holocaust-denial-not-a-human-right-european-court-rules/. The complaint stemmed from his 2012 conviction for the January 2010 Holocaust memorial incident.Agence France-Presse, “Holocaust denial not a human right, European court rules,” Times of Israel, October 3, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/holocaust-denial-not-a-human-right-european-court-rules/; “German court fines far-right parliamentarian,” Deutsche Welle, August 16, 2012, https://www.dw.com/en/german-court-fines-far-right-parliamentarian/a-16173614. In the 2019 decision, the ECHR also ruled that Holocaust denial is not protected speech.Agence France-Presse, “Holocaust denial not a human right, European court rules,” Times of Israel, October 3, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/holocaust-denial-not-a-human-right-european-court-rules/.

 
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