For years, a sense of disillusionment has been growing on the right. Now, the refugee crisis has magnified that frustration. Increasingly, people from the very center of society are identifying with the movement — even as political debate coarsens and violence increases. By SPIEGEL Staff
Martin Bahrmann, a local politician in the Saxon town of Meissen, was just preparing to speak in a council debate on refugee shelters when a ball-point pen ricoched off the back of his head. It was a cheap, plastic writing utensil — blue with white writing.
As a member of the business friendly Free Democrats (FDP), Bahrmann’s seat in the regional council is at the very back and the visitors’ gallery is just behind him. The pen must have come from somebody in the audience. When Bahrmann turned around, he found himself looking at a sea of hostile faces. Although there were around 80 visitors in the gallery, nobody admitted to having seen who threw the pen. On the contrary: The FDP representative and his colleagues were later insulted as being “traitors to the German people.”