'German far right is less obvious, more dangerous'

'Der Spiegel' reports that right-wing activists, neo-Nazis, are ditching classic garb, increasing tendency towards using violence for cause.

July 2, 2011 10:08
2 minute read.
French police photograph neo-Nazi graffiti

French police photograph neo-Nazi graffiti 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The skinhead image of the neo-Nazi is undergoing an aesthetics change, Der Spiegel reported Saturday, making Germany's far right "less conspicuous but more dangerous."

According to a 335-page annual report drafted by Germany's Interior Ministry and Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), there was also an increase in Neo-Nazis from 2009 to 2010, the current number resting at 5,600.

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And, despite fewer politically motivated crimes in 2010 compared to 2009, a 15.2 percent drop, there was an increasing tendency towards violence.

"It is possible to see a rise in the potential for violence as well as in the willingness to employ violence to attain one's political goals," the report said.

As for their look, right-wing activists in Germany have reportedly thrown away their "combat boots," donning clothes that do not necessarily publicize their political beliefs. This makes them harder to identify.

While the neo-Nazis are closely associated with anti-Semitic sentiment, The Jerusalem Post reported in May that the left-wing in Germany has created an anti-Israel and potentially anti-Semitic narrative within its platform.

Some Germans have accused the left-wing as using anti-Semitism as a tool for gaining popular support. Hans-Peter Uhl, from the Bavarian- based Christian Social Union, a sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, accused the Left Party in May of “fishing for votes in anti-Semitic voter groups.”

A telling example was the Left Party deputy Inge Höger, who appeared in May at a pro- Hamas conference in Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia, wearing a keffiyeh showing a map labeled “Palestine” on the entire territory of the State of Israel. She spoke about the “misuse of the Holocaust” in silencing criticism of Israel’s “occupation policies.”

Uwe Schünemann, the interior minister of the northwestern state of Lower Saxony said that the figures in this new annual report for left-wing violence were higher in the first three months of 2011 than they have been since the government began monitoring politically motivated crimes in 2001, Der Spiegel said.

Schunermann said that despite less violent attacks being reported in 2010, this was not a time for Germany to "lower it's guard."

Benjamin Weinthal contributed to this report.

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