Far-right German politician starts a new party with a logo bearing a secret Nazi symbol

André Poggenburg has announced his departure from the far-right Alternative for Germany party.

(CNN)A leading far-right German politician has announced his departure from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in order to create his own political organization.

The new party's logo includes a cornflower, which was also adopted as a secret symbol by Nazis in the 1930s.
André Poggenburg, a former leading figure in the AfD in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, resigned this week with an email sent to the leadership, in which he criticized the party's supposed move to the left.
    "Unfortunately, developments inside the AfD in the past weeks and months have shown, that this is no longer my true political home," he said in the email, which was seen by German news site Spiegel Online.
    His new party is called Aufbruch der deutschen Patrioten (Awakening of German Patriots), and Poggenburg has updated his social media profiles with party logos featuring a cornflower with a German flag. The flower was previously worn as a secret symbol identifying members of the then-illegal Nazi party in Austria in the 1930s. It was also the favorite flower of Kaiser Wilhelm -- the last German emperor and king of Prussia -- and came to be a symbol of pan-German nationalism in the 19th century.
    The logo of Poggenburg's new party features the cornflower, which was previously worn as a secret symbol for Nazi members in Austria in the 1930s.
    The flower was associated with German nationalism even before the emergence of the Nazi party, after far-right politician Georg von Schönerer encouraged his supporters to wear it at the end of the 1800s. Schönerer was a major exponent of German nationalism and a fierce anti-Semite, and is regarded as having a key influence on Adolf Hitler.
    It was more recently the chosen flower of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) in Austria before it was dropped as that group's symbol in 2017. And leading FPÖ politician Norbert Hofer -- who is now Austria's minister for transport, innovation and technology -- was seen wearing the flower while campaigning for the presidency in 2016.
    Poggenburg told the German newspaper Welt that he does not plan to veer far from AfD policy and intends instead to "stay with the successful positioning of the AfD of around two years ago and not go along with the noticeable shift to the left."
    He has drawn sharp criticism in the past for his controversial comments regarding immigrants in Germany. He resigned from his position as the party's regional chairman of the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt in 2018 after branding Germany's Turkish population "camel traders" and an "unpatriotic rabble."
    "These camel drivers should go off to where they belong; far, far beyond the Bosporus to their mud huts and polygamy," he told AfD members.