Connect to share and comment
How many Austrians will back Nazi sympathizer Barbara Rosenkranz?
Rosenkranz's family is also a subject of fascination. Those who doubt her sincerity point out that for the last 31 years the 51-year-old has been married to Horst Rosenkranz, former member of the now banned neo-Nazi NDP party and publisher of a far-right magazine, "Fakten." The couple has 10 children, six daughters and four sons, some with strikingly outmoded Germanic names such as Alwine, Hildrun, Mechthild, Sonnhild and Wolf. Having left the Catholic church, they attend Germanic summer and winter solstice rituals at which Barbara Rosenkranz calls on those assembled to recognize the destructive and creative force of fire.
The candidate protests that she should not be defined by the views of her husband and that she has suffered an "unprecedented campaign" against her. Indeed, the adverse reactions to her views do seem to weigh on her: Rosencranz appeared awkward and twitchy when facing questions from the media at a recent visit to Graz. Her speech at the rally afterward tipped from appropriately strident to rattled when she was confronted by a crowd of protesters jeering and lobbing the occasional object, which her minders fended off with umbrellas. But she defiantly plowed on delivering her warning of the threat posed by the EU, feminism, immigration and Islam.
Rosenkranz's suspicion of foreign influence does not stop her taking ideas and inspiration from abroad. Her party hailed the recent far-right victory in neighboring Hungary and Rosenkranz praises Switzerland's referendum decision to ban minarets: "I am in favor of protecting religious freedom, but minarets are a political symbol not a religious one." She also calls on Austria to require radio stations to play a certain amount of music with German lyrics, a nod to the language quota system in place in France.
The Freedom Party's leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, has distanced himself from Rosenkranz, choosing not to come to the formal opening of her campaign at the height of the Verbotsgesetz furor. Even so, she says she feels "sufficiently supported." And she may earn Strache's gratitude on Sunday, paving the way for further far-right gains by proving how many Austrians are unafraid to ignore the Nazi past.