The Alternative for Germany (AfD) politician Siegbert Droese grew up as the youngest of three siblings in a Lutheran family in the GDR. Shortly before the Berlin wall fell, he escaped to Western Germany, where he resumed his education as a hotelier, but finally returned to his hometown Leipzig.
Droese joined the AfD in September 2013, and quickly rose in its ranks, eventually becoming a member of the Bundestag in 2017. Since 2019 Droese is part of the AfD faction in the Leipzig city council.
Droese is member of the German-Russian and the German-Moldavian Friendship Groups of the Bundestag, and has been spotted on relevant conferences, e.g. on the September 2018 Economic Forum Moldo-Rus “New Horizons of Collaboration” in Chișinău, Moldavia.3
Droese was temporarily a member of the völkish AfD faction “Patriotic Platform” (Patriotische Plattform) that existed until September 2018, but left the association again in July 2015. In March 2015 he signed the “Erfurt Resolution,” the manifesto of the far-right AfD faction, the “Wing.”4
In January 2017, the right-wing extremist Tatjana Festerling5 offered an alliance with the AfD during a LEGIDA rally, the Leipzig branch of the anti-Islamic and xenophobic Dresden demonstration alliance PEGIDA. Subsequently, Droese campaigned in a press release for a cooperation between the AfD and PEGIDA, and for a joint mass demonstration in Leipzig. While the Patriotic Platform supported the proposal, a majority of the AfD Leipzig rejected a direct, official cooperation despite acknowledged “political intersections.”6
In 2016, the AfD Leipzig campaigned with a car that bore the license plate number “L-AH1818,” a triple allusion to Adolf Hitler, which according to a local AfD spokesman was registered to Droese.7 Another car of the AfD Leipzig bore the license plate “L-GD 3345,” which is understood as a code for “Greater Germany” (Großdeutschland) between 1933 and 1945. Droese stated in 2017 that he did not know about the meaning of these codes at the time. But that seems entirely unlikely since there emerged a photo with him at Hitler’s headquarters, the “Wolfsschanze,” holding his right hand to his heart.8
In March 2019 it transpired that Droese was employing Daniel Fiß at his Bundestag office, a neo-Nazi from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and one of the leading members of the German Identitarian Movement. Siegbert Droese stated that Fiß was only hired for a two-month period and would be working on a “graphic design and web development project.” He furthermore explained that he had no problem with the political background of his employee since he would see “no reason to snoop into the private life of an employee before hiring him,” and that the job would be only “a project-related short-term employment.”
- 1. Kai Biermann, Astrid Geisler, Christina Holzinger, Paul Middelhoff, Karsten Polke-Majewski and Tilman Steffen, “AfD-Fraktion: Rechts bis extrem im Bundestag,” Zeit Online, September 21, 2017, https://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/2017-09/afd-kandidaten-bundestagswahl-abgeordnete.
- 2. “Landesvorstand Sachsen,” AfD Sachsen, https://www.afdsachsen.de/landesverband/landesvorstand-sachsen.html.
- 3. Facebook post by Siegbert Droese, September 21, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=539201736531884.
- 4. “Vor AfD-Vorstandswahl: ‘Da können noch große Überraschungen kommen,’” Leipziger Volkszeitung, February 4, 2018, https://www.lvz.de/Region/Mitteldeutschland/Vor-AfD-Vorstandswahl-Da-koennen-noch-grosse-Ueberraschungen-kommen.
- 5. Festerling is by now a persona non grata in Germany and migrated to Bulgaria in 2018, where she is working with paramilitary vigilante groups who are trying to keep refugees out of the country.
- 6. Paul Simon, “Wie viel Pegida-Partei will die AfD sein?,” Kreuzer Online, May 24, 2016, https://kreuzer-leipzig.de/2016/05/24/wie-viel-pegida-partei-will-die-afd-sein/.
- 7. “Fährt die AfD in Leipzig mit Adolf-Hitler-Kennzeichen herum?,” Stern, August 22, 2016, https://www.stern.de/politik/deutschland/leipziger-afd-mercedes-faehrt-mit-adolf-hitler-kennzeichen-herum-7020986.html.
- 8. Katja Thorwarth, “Siegbert Droese: Der AfD-Mann und die Wolfsschanze,” Frankfurter Rundschau, February 5, 2018, https://www.fr.de/meinung/afd-mann-wolfsschanze-11108832.html.