A demonstrator holds a sign that reads Voksverraeter (people's traitor)

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Getty Pictures

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A demonstrator holds an indication calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel a traitor of the individuals

Germany’s ugliest phrase of the yr is “traitor of the individuals” – or Volksverraeter, a panel has determined.

The phrase is seen by many as having Nazi overtones and has been used not too long ago by right-wing teams.

The choice was taken as a part of the Unwort des Jahres contest, which accurately means “unword of the yr”.

The competitors is held yearly to choose a topical phrase that’s deemed discriminatory, inflammatory or anti-democratic.

In current occasions, members of Germany’s anti-Islam motion Pegida and the right-wing Different for Germany celebration (AfD) have taken to utilizing Volksverraeter as an insult.

The panel – 4 linguists and a journalist – referred to as it “a relic of dictatorship”.

The competitors was established in 1991 beneath the state-sponsored Society for German Language, but it surely grew to become independently run 4 years later.

‘Prepared-for-violence Nazis’

Head of the jury Nina Janich mentioned the phrase was being overused in reference to politicians, making the “sort of discourse that’s important to democracy not possible”.

It’s typically used as the last word put-down, to discredit somebody’s opinions.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had the time period shouted at her by demonstrators when she visited a refugee centre in August 2015.

The phrase, alongside different insults, was additionally hurled at Financial system Minister and Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel in August 2016.

He sparked controversy by raising his middle finger on the hecklers, whom he described as “younger, aggressive, swearing and ready-for-violence Nazis”.

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EPA

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Senior politician Sigmar Gabriel raised his center finger after being referred to as a traitor of the individuals


What’s mistaken with “voelkisch”?

The German phrase “Volk” means individuals and is a typical, on a regular basis phrase.

Nonetheless, it additionally on the root of some extra traditionally controversial vocabulary.

The Nazis used the time period “voelkisch” (“individuals’s” or “nationwide”) to set Germans aside from Jews and others they labelled “racially inferior”.

AfD leader Frauke Petry has been criticised recently for attempting to place a optimistic spin on “voelkisch”.

She mentioned it was mistaken to imagine the time period is racist.


The 2016 “unword” prize was whittled down from a protracted listing of virtually 600 phrases. Many had hyperlinks to the refugee disaster, which dominated the German information agenda prior to now yr.

Previous recipients of the awards embrace the phrases “mendacity press”, “god’s warriors” and “ethnic cleaning”. Nominations are open to the general public.

The Society for German Language nonetheless runs its Phrase of the Yr competitors, which began within the 1970s. Its 2016 decide was introduced in December: “Postfaktish”, post-factual.

In keeping with German information web site Deutsche Welle, post-factual was chosen as a “reference each to Donald Trump’s political marketing campaign and the worldwide development of emotion-driven somewhat than fact-driven politics”.