A far-right politician in Germany is battling some unfavorable press related to two incidents in a week, one rather comical, the other not at all. Alexander Gauland, 77, first drew censure over the weekend for comments addressed to the youth division of the Alternative for Germany party, the country's largest opposition party known for its anti-migrant stance, which he co-leads. The Holocaust, he noted, was "just a bird dropping on 1,000 years of German history." Critics were quick to accuse him of minimizing Nazi crimes, and some appeared gleeful when photos of a scantily clad Gauland surfaced on social media shortly after. Taken last week, per the New York Times, they showed Gauland moments after he was the victim of a common prank: He'd been swimming at a lake near his home in Potsdam when someone stole his clothes.
"My belongings were stolen … as I was in the water, and other swimmers called the police without asking me," Garland said, noting he had to replace his house locks, as the keys were in his vanished pants. He hopes to press charges against the unknown culprit, who witnesses say yelled, "This is no swimming area for Nazis!" per Sky News (the Times translates it as "Nazis don’t need bathing fun!"). Given that, police say the theft could be "politically motivated." Though his remark on the Holocaust came days later, Gauland has previously said "not everyone who holds a German passport is German" and that Germans "have the right to be proud of the achievements of the German soldiers in two world wars." He was also accused of racism in 2016 after saying people consider Jerome Boateng, a black soccer player, to be talented, "but they don't want to have him as a neighbor." (Read more Germany stories.)