Fact Check: German Politician NOT Convicted, Fined For Simply Using Patriotic Phrase During 2021 Speech -- Penalty Has Broader Context

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: German Politician NOT Convicted, Fined For Simply Using Patriotic Phrase During 2021 Speech -- Penalty Has Broader Context Nazi Slogan

Was German politician Björn Höcke fined in May 2024 for simply using a patriotic phrase in a speech three years earlier? No, that's not true: His conviction and fine were related to a phrase deemed to violate German laws regarding Nazi propaganda and slogans. The German Criminal Code is particularly strict about language that could be interpreted as promoting Nazi ideology or inciting hatred against specific groups.

The claim appeared in an article on X, formerly Twitter, by Visegrád 24 on May 15, 2024. The post's caption said:

Judges fined Bjorn Hocke, AfD politician, €13,000 for using the phrase 'Alles fur Deutschland' ('Everything for Germany') during a 2021 campaign rally.

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:


(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed May 15 16:11:21 2024 UTC)

The law

Höcke, a right-leaning Alternative for Germany (AfD) party member, was convicted under Section 86 of the German Criminal Code. That section of the code, found on page 48, is called "Dissemination of propaganda material of unconstitutional organisations."

The law prohibits the spread and use of propaganda and symbols from banned organizations, including former Nazi organizations. Violations of the law can result in up to three years of imprisonment or a fine.

Höcke, who heads the AfD in the German state of Thuringia, was fined 13,000 euros ($14,000) for closing a 2021 campaign speech with the phrase: "Everything for Germany!" That phrase is banned in political speeches in Germany because it was used by Adolf Hitler's SA stormtroopers, the violent paramilitary group crucial to the Nazi rise to power in the 1930s. The slogan was also inscribed on the blades of SA daggers.

Björn Höcke

Höcke's case has been shared widely across social media, even catching the attention of X owner Elon Musk. A post on X by the politician from April 6, 2024, prompted the following exchange:


(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed May 15 18:59:44 2024 UTC)

But the court disagreed citing the German Criminal Code.

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Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims about German politicians can be read here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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