Right-wing researchers have called Kubitschek a dangerous radical; Weiss sees him as a follower of the ultra-nationalist ideology of Germany’s Weimar Republic. Simone Rafael from the Antonio Amadeu Foundation, a Berlin-based NGO combating right-wing extremism, told me Kubitschek is a particularly interesting figure because he is able to connect groups across the right-wing spectrum. “With his publishing house and think tank and magazine, he’s not only fighting to push Neue Rechte thought to the forefront, he’s also educating people in it,” she said. “And now he is an important link to the AfD and Pegida. … [H]e’s involved in all the scenes. He brings them together.”
Bernd Lucke, a founding member of the AfD, successfully prevented Kubitschek from joining the party in February 2015, pointing to his penchant for sporting brown and black clothing at Pegida demonstrations (colors associated with the Blackshirts in Italy and Brownshirts in Germany). Lucke left the party the same year over concerns it was drifting swiftly to the right.
Kubitschek waves all this off as left-wing invective, insisting that he and his wife welcome activists from across the conservative spectrum and work to temper its more radical elements; hardcore extremists are not welcome in Schnellroda, they said. With age and time and the family’s rising prominence across the country, Kositza noted their responsibility as leaders of the Neue Rechte has grown.
While the couple views its work as a multi-generational march towards a conservative revolution, there are indications they might not have to wait for long. A University of Leipzig survey of citizens’ political views over the last 15 years indicates extreme right-wing views and anti-democratic attitudes are far more prominent in public discourse now than in previous years. Within the last five years, the terms lügenpresse (lying press) and völkisch (racial), considered vile remnants of Germany’s darkest chapter, re-emerged at Pegida protests and among the AfD.
Pegida’s numbers have tapered off significantly, but as Werner Patzelt, professor of political science at Dresden’s Technical University, told me, the protest movement has found a more effective vehicle in the AfD. The party’s chairwoman Frauke Petry has fought to keep the party a viable political force by limiting its links to extreme elements. She thwarted cooperation with Pegida, especially after its founder was found guilty of incitement last year.
But this April, she stepped aside as the party’s lead candidate for the September elections. A month later, the AfD officially joined Pegida on stage for the first time at a demonstration in Dresden. German media now speculate that Petry will be stripped entirely of leadership at an upcoming meeting.
Earlier this year, Björn Höcke, an AfD politician, called on Germans to move beyond their culture of guilt as symbolized by Berlin’s Holocaust memorial, referring to it as a monument of shame. Five years ago, his comments would have likely spelled the end of Höcke’s career and severely damaged the AfD. The party’s executive committee put in a motion to revoke his membership but it has gone nowhere; in the meantime, Höcke faced vague “regulatory” measures. In a piece in his magazine Sezession, Kubitschek argued that Höcke’s words had been misconstrued—it is not a shame the monument exists, but rather that shame is enshrined, physically and emotionally, in the German psyche.