The landlords are under pressure – from the right and from the left. The alternative for germany is always looking for meeting places for its political events in the bamberg area. If the landlord says no, he must enforce his house rules against the party. If he says yes, he has to justify why he offers a platform to a right-wing party. A quandary.
"Once there was an event of the afd in our town. But unwittingly. Someone called and registered 30 people. There was no talk of afd. Then came 70", told host johannes seeger in the brewery hoh in kottensdorf near scheblitz. "What do you want with the nazis??", had asked guests later. Had seeger made a difference in retrospect, had he known that the afd was an organizer? "I am politically active for another party", seeger replies. "So I assume that I had done it differently."
A fellow innkeeper, who prefers to remain anonymous, did it differently. He cancelled the afd and therefore had to conduct a long e-mail correspondence, because the party is not easy. A third family of landlords took advantage of an emergency – justified a refusal with social pressure that had not existed at all.
Threat on the phone
Still other landlords confirm real social pressure. More: anonymous threats. "I was told on the phone not to hold the afd meeting. Otherwise there would be other inconveniences", reports a local tenant concerned. What kind of consequences should be threatened was left open in the two anonymous calls in the run-up to an afd information evening, as was the question of who was speaking on the other end of the line. "Two different male voices, the host remembers. For ten years he has his local, he has not experienced anything like this before. "For me it was all too blod. I canceled the event."
Gunther reitz also received a call: "they wanted to start a shitstorm and paint my wall", the landlord at the rieneck inn in zuckshut near breitengubbach reports on anonymous threats in the run-up to an afd evening. As a reaction to this, he no longer accepts the afd: "i didn’t want to have to keep an eye on my yard 24 hours a day."
Another landlady says she has been threatened with a boycott if she hosts the afd party. "Otherwise, the normal people no longer came to the economy." The woman did not let herself be intimidated by the threat. She has not noticed a drop in the number of guests.
What do the police say about the threats against landlords?? Jurgen stadter, spokesman at the police prasidium of upper franconia, confirms that in july 2018 the police were informed of a case from the district of bamberg. "However, the event took place as planned. The criminal investigation department of bamberg has taken up investigations in this connection because of attempted notification." They are still running.
The afd sees its freedom of assembly restricted: "we have been told by landlords: they’re banning us from the premises", reports florian kohler, who was elected to the district parliament on behalf of the afd party. It is an "insolence", landlords had to think twice about hosting a party in 2018, argues vice district chairman.
What does the political opponent say? Bamberg left-wing spokesman paul lehmann "of course" distances himself from threats and other legal violations, as he says. "But you have to ask the innkeepers if they are aware of who they are hosting."
What rights does a landlord have in his dilemma?? "The landlord has the right of the house and is free to decide who he lets in", says frank-ulrich john, managing director of the bavarian hotel and restaurant association dehoga. "You can not sue." The situation is different if a catering contract has been concluded, in which case the customer has a right to catering. However, it would be possible to include a clause that would give the landlord the power to make decisions at a later date. "It is not possible for political parties to conclude a contract without a name." John’s basic advice is to check what kind of event and group you are dealing with when signing a contract and to make sure you have a written contract.
Shelters remain closed
In some cases, the landlord can invoke a lease agreement: in gaustadt, the afd received a refusal and claimed that the guardian association had put pressure on the landlord. The chairman of the armbrust-schutzengilde contradicts: "according to our statutes any party traffic is not allowed, we have pointed this out to the lessee", tells michael mackert.
"At the kunigundenruh inn, the leaseholder was fired by the association for hosting us," says one local leaseholder, reports the afd. Rudolf reuss, president of the schutzengesellschaft 1306 bamberg, disagrees: "the notice had nothing whatsoever to do with the afd, but with leasing problems." The guardian association wants to be politically neutral. Reuss confirms that there was a vigil against an afd evening in the guardian’s house in 2015. In order not to get caught between the fronts, reuss banned all politics from the house. In the meantime, there is only one caterer on site.
Also in bamberger osten, police searched three suspected left-wingers before an afd evening and found a pocket knife, pepper sprays and "mummery material" found. The afd spoke of an "armed attack by left-wing extremists", the police called the portrayal "exaggerated". The host announced the afd. For him, the question arose: "when the police are not there, does anything happen??"
The callers, who threatened bamberg innkeepers not only with boycotts but also with violence, presumably wanted to harm the afd. But it only makes the party stronger. Because the alternative for germany flirts with the role of victim. Threatening calls to landlords or boycotts of local businesses are a perfect opportunity for the party to portray itself as it likes to see itself: hostile to the "state apparatus" and the "lugenpresse, by the "lugenpresse and from the "old parties. The opponents’ headwind unintentionally turns into a tailwind for the right-wingers. So the threat callers are not just lacking in decency, because one thing is certain: you don’t threaten landlords. Especially not in the beer country of bamberg. The threat callers also lack political clout. Their storm fire has backfired. Here, a few have crossed the boundaries of political discourse, the rules of which so many are committed to playing by. Here ends the political protest. Here the mob begins. And the afd benefits.