Anti-Breitbart German Social Democrat Leader Accused of Spying on Past Employees

Newly elected Germany's social democratic SPD party co-leader Saskia Esken (C) looks on next to newly elected co-leader Norbert Walter-Borjans (L) during the party congress of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) at the fairgrounds in Berlin, on December 6, 2019. - The new, leftist leaders of Germany's Social Democrats offered Angela …
ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

The new leader of the German Social Democrats (SPD), Saskia Esken, has been accused of spying on her own employees in the past by German media.

Ms Esken, who recently was elected co-leader of the SPD alongside Norbert Walter-Borjans, is said to have spied on former employees’ email accounts when she worked at the State Parents Advisory Board of Baden-Württemberg, German tabloid Bild reports.

According to Christian Bucksch, who was chairman of the organization when Esken was elected to its board in 2011, Esken had access to employee email passwords and read their correspondence.

Gabi Wengenroth, a former employee, claims that because she had kept in contact with Bucksch after he had left the company, she was accused of disloyalty and had received an email from Ms Esken informing her of her termination as a result.

The woman told her story to broadcaster ARD who spoke to a labour lawyer who told them that the dismissal was likely illegal due to the fact that spying on work computers is “illegal and punishable by law.”

Esken defended herself in a written statement, saying: “We have democratized and brought together the Baden-Württemberg State Parents’ Advisory Board as a management team from 2012 onwards. It goes without saying that not everyone liked it and that we encountered resistance.”

Before becoming the leader of the SPD, Esken briefly targetted Breitbart News on social media, engaging in a campaign against advertisers alongside the activist group Sleeping Giants.

Esken labelled Breitbart News, founded by Jewish Americans Andrew Breitbart and Larry Solov, a “neo-Nazi website” — later complaining on her own website that others were accusing her of antisemitism as a result.

“Some commentators even compare my campaign to the Nazi campaign ‘Don’t buy from Jews’. You are referring to the company’s founder, Andrew Breitbart, who was a Jew. Of course, that’s deceitful, downright malicious, and it strikes, but it’s also stupid,” she claimed.

Antisemitism has become a major issue for other social democratic parties in Europe, including Britain’s Labour Party under far-left Hamas and Hezbollah sympathiser Jeremy Corbyn.

Shortly before the election, which saw a historic loss for Labour, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis declared Corbyn unfit to lead the country, saying, “The way in which the leadership has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud — of dignity and respect for all people.”

“It has left many decent Labour members both Jewish and non-Jewish, ashamed of what has transpired,” he added.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



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