Neo-Nazi makes it through to second round of German regional election

Tommy Frenck is described by German media as a 'nationally notorious neo-nazi'
Tommy Frenck is described by German media as a 'nationally notorious neo-nazi'

A neo-Nazi who sells Hitler memorabilia online has made it through to the second round in a key German regional election.

Tommy Frenck, described by German media reports as a “nationally notorious neo-Nazi,” passed the first round of voting in Sunday’s district elections in Hildburghausen, Thuringia, and has been allowed to stand in the run-off.

Mr Frenck runs the online shop druck18, which sells Third Reich-themed bed linen and has a restaurant which has offered schnitzel for €8.88, a coded reference to the Nazi slogan “Heil Hitler,”because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, Spiegel magazine reported.

His political movement, Alliance for the Future of Hildburghausen, is considered the “leading neo-Nazi” group in the district by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the German equivalent of MI5.

His popularity comes amid shock in Germany after a video emerged over the weekend of young people chanting far-Right slogans and giving Hitler salutes at a holiday resort in Sylt.

German leaders condemned the Sylt incident, where youngsters chanted “foreigners out” to the tune of the French song “L’amour toujours,” with chancellor Olaf Scholz condemning their behaviour as “disgusting” and “unacceptable”.

A leading MP for the Greens said she was outraged that Mr Frenck had been allowed to stand in the elections in the first place. Local election laws state that candidates who pose a threat to the “democratic order” and German constitution are banned from taking part.

“It is shocking that a genuine neo-Nazi, who has repeatedly displayed anti-constitutional attitudes up to the present day, was even allowed to run for the district council,” Irene Mihalic told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.

“Someone with such openly displayed attitudes and obvious advances towards the Nazi era and its symbols should never be allowed to hold such an important office in our democratic constitutional state,” she added.

Mr Frenck has been a somewhat notorious figure in Germany since 2015, when he began hosting a string of far-Right events, including concerts, in Hildburghausen.

As of Tuesday evening, Mr Frenck did not appear to have issued a response to the criticism surrounding his electoral progress.

In a 2022 interview with the German tabloid Bild, in which he was confronted about his apparent love of Adolf Hitler and views on the Holocaust, he said: “I cannot speak about this topic because in Germany you cannot freely express your opinion.”