At the Catholic Church Congress in Stuttgart, Olaf Scholz had irritated with a statement. Disruptive actions by climate activists reminded him “of a time that was long ago”. Did he mean the Nazi era? His government spokeswoman is trying to limit the damage.

After climate activist Luisa Neubauer accused Chancellor Olaf Scholz of comparing “climate activists with Nazis”, government spokeswoman Chistiane Hoffmann tried to limit the damage. “These statements by the Chancellor stand for themselves and I would basically not want to comment now.” Such a comparison is “completely absurd,” the spokeswoman added at a government press conference.

At the press conference, Hoffmann was asked by journalists what long ago the Federal Chancellor had meant in his speech at the Catholic City Church Congress. An activist had tried to storm the stage during the appearance of the SPD politician, but was prevented from doing so by security forces and led away. Another activist shouted “bullshit” when Scholz was talking about phasing out coal-fired power generation and the jobs that would be lost in opencast mining as a result.

Olaf Scholz “expressed himself clearly”

Scholz commented on the disruption with the words: “I’ll be honest, these black-clad productions at various events by the same people always remind me of a long time ago, and thank God.” This also includes an “acting that is practiced, in which you always stage yourself,” he said. “I’ve also been to events, there were five people there, dressed the same, everyone had a practiced posture, and (they) do it again every time.” That’s not a discussion. “It’s not participatory in a discussion, it’s an attempt to manipulate events for your own purposes, you shouldn’t do that.”

Climate activist Luisa Neubauer accused the Chancellor on Twitter of having relativized the Nazi regime. “He stylizes climate protection as an ideology with parallels to the Nazi regime. In 2022. Jesus. This is such a scandal,” she wrote on Twitter.

Government spokeswoman Hoffmann did not want to comment on this. The Chancellor has made climate protection a priority for this legislative period and he is always ready to deal with the content of this topic and to discuss it. However, vehement disturbances in a panel discussion are not a substantive contribution, but “on the contrary, they prevent an objective discourse,” said the government spokeswoman. When asked by journalists, she declined to comment. “The Chancellor’s statements stand for themselves and I will not interpret them now. The Chancellor made himself very clear,” said Hoffmann.