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BERLIN — A leading member of Alternative for Germany, the nationalist party whose recent elections successes have shaken the country’s political system, faced fierce criticism Monday after calling for a racially charged term favored during the Third Reich to be rehabilitated.

Party cochairwoman Frauke Petry said in an interview published Sunday that words such as ‘‘voelkisch’’ shouldn’t be taboo any longer.

The term refers to people who belong to a particular race and was frequently used by the Nazis.

Her remarks prompted a swift backlash from politicians, commentators and historians who warned that Petry’s party was trying to legitimize ideas that were once at the core of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi ideology.

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Associated Press