In Germany, the language of Nazism is no longer buried in the past – The Washington Post


In Germany, the language of Nazism is no longer buried in the past – The Washington Post – As linguistic political tools, experts rank them alongside “alt-right” — coined in the United States to recast the white supremacy movement. Rather than mint new words, however, the Germans need only look to history for a nationalist thesaurus. Critics say those embracing such vocabulary are playing a coy game, winking at German nationalism without openly saluting Hitler. “If someone said ‘Sieg Heil’ today, it would be clear this is about National Socialism,” said Georg Schuppener, a noted German linguist and language historian. But the words popping up now “at first don’t sound like National Socialism, but nevertheless suggest it.” All the words in question predate the Nazis but became tainted in the public mind-set after their deployment in Nazi propaganda. After World War II, some terms lingered in beer hall talk and neo-Nazi circles. During the Cold War, a few found a perch in communist East Germany. But German linguists point to a resuscitation of nationalist terms in 2014, when the anti-migrant group PEGIDA began staging massive demonstrations nationwide. Two years later, the rapid rise of the populist, anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) — coupled with massive public skepticism of Merkel’s refu­gee policy — has these terms rolling off the tongues of politicians and flying around social media in a manner that has shocked many Germans.

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