Sigmar Gabriel
Sigmar Gabriel compared the anti-Islam AfD party to the Nazis Getty images

German Vice Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, said compared the anti-Islam AfD party to the Nazis. "Everything that they are saying, I've already heard - just to be clear - from my own father, who was a Nazi to his last breath," he said in an interview with the Funke Media Group.

The party was founded three years by Eurosceptics that are opposed to German bailouts of southern European EU members such as Greece. Since Frauke Petry succeeded as the party leader last year, the party has shifted its stance, vigorously opposing German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open door policy towards refugees.

Earlier this year, Petry was criticised for calling for police to shoot refugees who enter the country illegally. The party has been accused of Islamophobia after outlining plans to ban minarets, Muslim veils for women, and calling Islam "not part of Germany" in a recent manifesto.

It has surged in popularity in recent months, winning seats in three state elections in March 2016. During the media interview, Gabriel accused the party's supporters of wanting to turn the clock back and return the country to its 'intolerant past'.

"They want to go back to the repressed old West German republic of the 1960s, when women were still at home and foreigners, gays and lesbians had to be invisible, and where old army songs were sung over a beer in the evening," he said.

Petry has also accused opponents - who have branded her a fascist -of trying to stifle the free expression of beliefs.