March Postponed

Anti-Immigrant Group in Chaos as Leaders Quit

Former Pegida founding members, Kathrin Oertel and Achim Exner. Source: DPA
Former Pegida founding members, Kathrin Oertel and Achim Exner.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The resignation of its top leaders may signal the beginning of the end for an anti-immigrant group in Dresden that had panicked the German establishment.

  • Facts


    • The founder of Pegida quit last week after photos of him posing as Adolf Hitler went viral.
    • His successor, Kathrin Oertel, resigned on Wednesday blaming public hostility and harassment by the media.
    • In early January, Pegida attracted 25,000 to a march, but its numbers have since declined amid public disapproval from German political leaders.
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The anti-Islam movement Pegida, which has thrown a shadow over Germany after a series of high-profile marches in Dresden, descended into disarray Wednesday after several of its high-profile leaders quit suddenly.

The group, formally called the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident, cancelled a march planned for Monday, which they said was being rescheduled until Feb. 9 to give time to elect new leaders.

The resignations came a week after the movement’s founder, Lutz Bachmann,  stepped down after photographs of him posing as Adolf Hitler on his Facebook page went viral.

Kathrin Oertel, a real estate consultant from Dresden, took over as the public face of the organization, but Pegida said Wednesday she had resigned, saying she had been hounded by photographers camping outside her home.

The Pegida statement on the group’s Facebook page said Ms. Oertel quit amid “massive hostility and threats” that had caused her personal pain and damaged her work. In its statement, Pegida said Ms. Oertel’s real estate work had suffered and photographers “snuck around” near her home.

The statement also said Thomas Tallacker, another founding member of Pegida, is leaving the group’s board after losing several major contracts at his business – an interior design based in Meissen, a town near Leipzig.

Mr. Tallacker runs a small company called Innenausstattung. He is an interior designer and his wife Anne is responsible for sales, according to its website.

When contacted by Handelsblatt Global Edition. Mr. Tallacker’s wife Anne declined to comment on Pegida.

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