Erfurt, Germany - The leader of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party on Saturday praised Germany's past successes, characterizing the Nazi regime as just a small speck in national history.
"Hitler and the Nazis are just birdsh*t in more than 1 000 years of successful German history," said Alexander Gauland during a meeting of the AfD's youth organization in the eastern state of Thuringia.
Gauland did not deny German responsibility for the Nazi regime, saying: "Only those who acknowledge the past have the power to shape the future." However, he did underscore that it was only a piece of Germany's "illustrious" history, which spans far beyond that period.
Gauland and another AfD leader, Joerg Meuthen, were speaking at a two-day federal congress for young party participants that comes a month before the federal party congress in the city of Augsburg.
The main difference between the mother party and the youth group is their attitude towards the EU, said Damian Lohr, head of the Young Alternative: "The European Union must die so that Europe can live."
Meuthen on Saturday had called on the youth wing members to join the main party in its fight for a better Europe. "We want a Europe of the fatherlands," he said at the congress on Saturday.
The youth wing aims to create a programme during its congress. The organization estimates that it has 2,000 members across Germany.