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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has intervened in an anti-Semitic dispute involving a senior minister in the southern state of Bavaria, insisting the scandal should have “political consequences”.

Bavaria’s deputy chancellor, Hubert Aivanger, has admitted that when he was a schoolboy he was found in possession of an anti-Semitic pamphlet containing comical references to the Holocaust.

He denies authorship of the leaflet, which was written in the 1987-8 school year when he was 17.

The document selected the “biggest traitor to the fatherland” in the form of a competition, the first prize offered “a free flight up the chimney of Auschwitz”, and the fourth place offered “a year’s stay in Dachau”.

Scholz, through his spokesman Wolfgang Buschner, said the pamphlet incident was “disgusting, no matter who actually wrote it or distributed it”. He described the document itself as “truly horrific” and “demonstrated a genuine contempt for humanity” and called for a full investigation into the entire incident.

Scholz also demanded “political consequences”, while adding that it was the Bavarian government’s responsibility to investigate who wrote and distributed the leaflets.

The scandal proved to be deeply embarrassing for Bavaria’s chancellor and leader of the Christian Social Union, which governs the state in coalition with the Free Democrats led by Aiwanger.

Bavaria holds elections on Oct. 8, and Soder’s CSU is widely expected to win, with opinion polls currently at 39%. But if anti-Semitism escalates, he could be forced to end his coalition with liberal voters and instead work with the Greens or the Social Democrats – a highly unacceptable option for the conservative CSU.

The existence of the pamphlet was first reported by the Süddeutsche Zeitung over the weekend. It is said that Aiwanger personally wrote the leaflet and distributed it to his schoolmates.

Aiwanger later disputed that claim, saying in a statement that he was not the author of the pamphlet and found its content “disgusting and contemptuous.”

He said “one or a few” copies were found in his bag, but he “doesn’t remember” if any others were distributed. Afterwards, he said, he was summoned to the rector, who punished him by making him write an essay on Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

Shortly after Aivanger’s statement, his brother Helmut acknowledged authorship of the pamphlet. “I was very angry because I failed my school (examination),” he said.

Avanger’s speeches have sparked controversy, with critics calling them Trumpian populist overtones. In June, during a demonstration against the government’s plans to replace gas boilers with heat pumps in the Bavarian town of Erding, he said the “silent majority of the country” must “take back democracy”. Many accused him of parodying rhetoric from the far-right Alternative for Germany party.

The Bavarian opposition demanded that Soder fire his deputy. Green Party leaders Katharina Schulz and Ludwig Hartmann said: “If the allegations are true, there is no solution: fire Hubert Aivenger.”

Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Jewish community in Munich, the Bavarian state capital, said it was “very dangerous to simply suspect that a high-ranking politician might be involved in this article”.

Soder has summoned Eiwanger to an emergency meeting of the joint committee, which handles clashes between Bavaria’s coalition partners. His chief of staff, Florian Herrmann, said that although the statement came over the weekend, there were “many unanswered questions that only Hubert Aiwanger could personally address.” answer”.


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