The clothes of a leading figure in Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany party were stolen while he was swimming in a lake outside Berlin, which forced him to walk to the police station wearing only his bathing shorts, German media reported Tuesday.
Alexander Gauland, co-leader of the AfD’s parliamentary wing, told German news agency DPA that he discovered his clothes were gone after he finished his swim in the Heiliger lake in Potsdam, 18 miles southwest of Berlin.
The thief shouted, “Nazis don’t need bathing fun” or “There’s no swimming for Nazis here,” according to media reports.
“Other bathers called the police without asking me,” he told the Maerkische Allgemeine, the local newspaper that first reported the incident. Gauland told the newspaper he had to change the locks on his house because his keys, which were in his trousers, were also taken.
Gauland spoke about the incident after a photo of him walking topless alongside a police officer began circulating on social media.
Police are investigating the theft and have not ruled out a political motive, according to reports. The AfD, which was formed in 2014 as an anti-establishment party but won 91 seats in the federal election in September, has provoked anger among more liberal and left-wing Germans with its anti-refugee, anti-Islam policies.
After the picture of Gauland emerged Tuesday, hundreds took to social media using the hashtag #Badespass (bathing fun) to comment. Some celebrated the event as “karma” and said it was “too funny to condemn,” while others reminded readers to focus on Gauland’s politics rather than viewing him as a source of comedy.
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CNN could not reach the police or Gauland’s office for comment.
It’s the second time this week that Gauland has made headlines in Germany. At the weekend, he was heavily criticized for referring to Hitler and the Nazis as “one bird shit in over 1,000 years of successful German history.” The remark was widely interpreted as an attempt to downplay the crimes of the Nazi regime.
Gauland has previously called for Germany to move on from the Hitler-led years and has openly praised the “achievements” of Nazi German soldiers.