Photo: Alice Weidel, in the ZDF Frontal report on the 10-year anniversary of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).

ZDF Frontal Interviews Alice Weidel About Email Affair: What’s The Problem?

It’s a fair question but there’s a problem. The problem is that people are supposed to be free to think and speak as they please. Even if it’s not always pleasant to hear.

Did you write that email, Frau Weidel? On the occasion of the10 year anniversary of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), the German investigative program ZDF frontal asked AfD co-leader Alice Weidel a question which she was not expecting: did she write an email in which she called the federal government “pigs” and “puppets of the victorious powers”.

The newspaper Die Welt broke the email affair in 2017. Allegedly, Weidel sent an email to an acquaintance in which she states: “The reason why we are being inundated by culture-alien peoples such as Arabs, Sinti and Roma etc. is the systematic destruction of civil society as a possible counterbalance to the enemies of the constitution who rule us…These pigs are nothing more than puppets of the victorious powers of the 2nd World War and have the task of keeping the German people small by inducing molecular civil wars in the metropolitan areas through foreign infiltration.”

According to the original Welt report, Weidel’s acquaintance swore an affidavit that the email is genuine. This time, for the report on the 10-year anniversary of the AfD, the ZDF Frontal team met in person with Weidel’s acquaintance, who has agreed to speak on camera on the condition that he remains anonymous. He assures that he received the explosive email in February 2013. Speaking for the first time in front of a camera, I consider it my civic duty to do my own small possible contribution to uncovering the machinations and characteristics of the AfD leadership.”

Alice Weidel denies that she wrote the email but refuses to swear an affidavit. When ZDF Frontal confronted the AfD boss with a copy of the email in the interview, the AfD co-leader, visibly surprised by the question, says: ”To be honest, I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean.” When asked if she wrote the email, she declined: “I won’t say anything more about it.”

According to the researcher on political extremism, Julia Ebner, who is interviewed in the ZDF Frontal report, the alleged email from Alice Weidel has the tone of the Reichburger citizens who were arrested in December 2022 for allegedly planning a coup to overthrow the federal government. Ebner recognizes “content that is strongly reminiscent of the Reich citizen scene”. For her, the response of Alice Weidel is revealing: “The fact that Ms. Weidel refused to make an affidavit is actually an answer.”


The analogy with the Reichburger citizens is outlandish. According to the acquaintance who spoke to ZDF Frontal, the email shows Weidel in her true light: how she really thinks and who she really is behind the purported liberal facade. That could have been true, except that Weidel has also written a book, Wider Worte, which makes it impossible to entertain the nutcase theory.

Far from a demagogic manifesto, the book reads like a republican program: restoring the unconditional rule of law, putting the middle class back at the centre of politics again, stopping islamization, controlling migration, reducing taxes and protecting property, more direct democracy, defending freedom and security, reforming the EU to make national parliaments sovereign over EU institutions.

Significantly, Weidel says her book does not represent the AFD program but her own personal vision and statement on German politics. In Wider Worte, Weidel explains her motivation for getting into politics:

“Out of the conviction that respect for freedom and property, order and the unconditional rule of law are indispensable prerequisites for prosperity and a just society, I went into politics. Uncovering grievances and mentioning them by name is only the first step. The aim is to reform this country and put it back on the foundations on which Germany has once again acquired respect and respect for the world after the disasters of the last century.”

Does this sound like Reichburger-speak?

So, what’s the problem? If the email is indeed true, it remains the expression of a free opinion. Freedom is not about saying what others want to hear. It is about the right to exist as oneself, to think for oneself, to speak for oneself, regardless of what others think. Freedom is not just a nice word to hear. It is a birthright to be used and enjoyed.

Should ZDF Frontal have chosen another question for the 10 year anniversary of the AfD? Perhaps or perhaps not. The question puts the finger right where it hurts: what is the AfD, what kind of people does it attract and what has the party become in 10 years of existence – better or worse? Yet, what is really the problem with that email? Freedom is meaningless if you can’t rant about things you don’t like.

As for Weidel writing that Germany is not “sovereign” and migration has undermined the inner cohesion of German society, who’s prepared to say, without necessarily agreeing to her choice of words – nor to voting for the AfD, for that matter -, that the diagnosis has no relation to reality? I’m not.


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