Years of covering German far-right party AfD gave Kirsten Grieshaber a front-row view of important and surprising societal shifts that have helped its popularity surge. She covered teachers publicly intimidated for reporting students using the Nazi salute and an optometrist bombarded with threats for criticizing the party. She also recognized a bigger phenomenon in these local incidents: “Many Germans believed their country had developed an immunity to nationalism and assertions of racial superiority after confronting the horrors of its Nazi past through education and laws to outlaw persecution. They were wrong.”

Grieshaber and colleagues Fanny Brodersen, Kerstin Sopke and Markus Schreiber covered a rise in recent attacks on the memorial to victims of the Buchenwald Nazi death camp. Instead of focusing only on the AfD’s rise, Grieshaber chose to tell this chilling story through the inspiring voices of protesters rising up against it. Powerful photos by Ebrahim Noroozi captured the spirit of the protesters. The story is a showcase piece of AP’s Pulitzer Center-funded Threat to Democracy in Europe project, cutting straight to the heart of the overall issue and why it’s important to Europe’s future.