Concern Grows over Neo-Nazi Extremism in Germany Based on Weapon Seizures

Concern Grows over Neo-Nazi Extremism in Germany Based on Weapon Seizures

Germany’s far-right radicals appear to be rearming, according to an expert observer.

An increase in the number of police seizures of weapons from neo-Nazi group in Germany is causing concern over far-right extremism.

German police seized a total of 1,091 weapons from far-right or neo-Nazi groups in 2018, reveals data from the country’s Interior Ministry requested by the socialist Left Party.

That was a 61% increase compared with 2017 when a total of 676 weapons were seized from such groups, state-owned TV ARD and DW reported.

The confiscated weapons included handguns, rifles, explosives, detonators, knives, batons, projectiles and even replica guns.

The German government figures for 2018 were based on seizures following 563 far-right motivated crimes involving weapons, with 235 of those being violent incidents.

“[The increase in far-right groups’ weapon numbers] is frightening and alarming” said Matthias Quent, an expert on right-wing extremism at the Institute for Democracy and Civil Society, or IDZ, as cited by ARD.

“[The figures show] a massive armament and rearmament of Germany’s right-wing radical scene,” he added.

In his words, neo-Nazi groups are preparing to stage fresh militant attacks on minorities, political opponents and representatives of the state.

“Their goal is to intimidate society and the displacement of certain groups of people. Parts of the scene even want a civil war,” Quent added.

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency BfV estimates the number of far-right extremists in the country at about 24,000; of those, nearly 13,000 are considered “violence-driven.”

Another report of the German Interior Ministry released earlier this month showed that the number of far-right offences in the country increased by about 900 in the first half of 2019, reaching a total of 8,605.

A total of 1,088 of those were violent crimes committed by known far-right extremists, an increase of 3.2%, up from 1,054 in the same period of 2018.

A total of 609 attacks against immigrants were registered by the German police in the first half of 2019, according to the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung daily.

In a relevant development, media reports revealed that Germany’s federal criminal police was planning an overhaul as part of measures to combat far-right extremism and hate crimes.

The issue of far-right violence came to the fore even more tangibly after the murder in June of politician Walter Luebcke.

Luebcke, who was an avid supporter of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door immigration policy, who was shot dead outside his home in an apparent act of far-right violence.

Earlier this week, German politician from the Social Democrat Party (SPD), Uli Groetsch, said he had received death threats from neo-Nazi groups.

(Banner image: TV grab from DW)

Ivan Dikov is a Bulgarian journalist and author. He studied political science / international relations and history at Dartmouth College and later in Sofia, in the Eastern Balkans. He’s served for five years as the editor-in-chief of Bulgaria’s largest English-language media – As a freelancer, he has collaborated with media from the US, the UK, Germany, and Australia.

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