German journalist defended over 'Nazis out' Twitter controversy

A German journalist posted an anti-Nazi slogan that many believe to be uncontroversial. The decision earned her vitriol and implicit death threats from far-right users.

Prominent German lawmakers and journalists have posted messages of support for a journalist who was virulently criticized for posting "Nazis out" ("Nazis raus") on her personal Twitter account.

The phrase — a play on the neo-Nazi phrase "Foreigners Out" — is a well-known anti-fascist slogan in Germany. Nicole Diekmann, a journalist at public broadcaster ZDF, received hundreds of comments and thousands of retweets after she posted it on New Year's Day.

Read more: German Green Party chief Robert Habeck quits Twitter after data hack

While many comments were supportive, others lashed out at her for using the phrase and writing, "Everyone who doesn't vote for the Green Party" in a sarcastic reply to one user who asked her: "Who is a Nazi?" Some of the posts implicitly called for Diekmann's murder.

Digital World | 13.10.2018

'Affects us all'

The controversy intensified on Monday after the Berliner Zeitung newspaper published a commentary denouncing Diekmann's critics, leading many German publications and politicians from the Greens, Social Democrats (SPD) and Left Party to publish posts with the hashtag "#NazisRaus" (Nazis Out).

"What @nicolediekmann is experiencing right now, as a woman, as a journalist, as a democrat, affects us all," wrote the Greens' parliamentary leader, Katrin Göring-Eckardt.

SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil wrote: "As clear as day, always and everywhere: Nazis Out!"

Hamburg football club St. Pauli, whose fans are known for their anti-fascist leanings, also chimed in, writing on Twitter: "Dear @nicolediekmann, we also don't know what is so hard to understand about #NazisOut."

But not all lawmakers understood the controversy.

"The word 'Nazi' has long been a catch-all term for everything and everyone who doesn't belong to the left-wing mainstream," said Götz Frömming, a member of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

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Geographic musings

While most users focused on the merits of Diekmann's plea, some were curious about where all of the Nazis in Germany should go to if they were to leave.

"I also thought this," wrote one Twitter user, commenting on Diekmann's post. "Out is good, but where should they go?"

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