BONN (Aug. 22)
Former German Chancellor Willy Brandt, currently chairman of West Germany’s major coalition party, the Social Democrats (SPD), has written to Chancellor Helmut Schmidt expressing concern at increasing neo-Nazi activities in West Germany and requesting the federal government to tackle the problem.
This is the first time a prominent German politician has spoken out against the neo-Nazi revival in recent years, and contrasts strongly with a recent report by West German Interior Minister Werner Maihofer (Free Democrat Party) claiming the neo-Nazis’ number was small and their activities posed no danger.
Brandt said the SPD Executive was receiving an increasing number of letters complaining about reunions of SS “comrade groups,” militant rightwing “fighting groups” and groups which “openly display Nazi symbols and represent that type of thinking, which stir up hatred against individual groups within the population, and call unashamedly to battle against the democratic constitution of the Federal Republic.”
The organizers of such activities and the participants were “clearly a minority.” But many citizens could not understand–and were concerned–when such activities took place with the permission of the responsible administrative authorities, Brandt declared, while those opposed to (neo-Nazi) activities of this sort “have meetings banned and have to face prosecution.”
Brandt said he suspected that local authorities were less vigilant against the dangers “which threaten us from extreme right-wing, neo-Nazi groups” than against anti-democratic attacks by extremists “at the other end of our political spectrum.” He added that the state had an adequate arsenal of measures to protect itself from its enemies, and that these should be applied equally to all persons irrespective of their status.
NEW THREAD OF VIOLENCE
Meanwhile, the weekly “Allgemeine Juedische Wochenzeitung” reports a new thread of violence in the activities of neo-Nazis in the Frankfurt region following the killing by left-wing extremists earlier this month of a prominent Frankfurt banker, Juergen Ponto. The neo-Nazi groups are “no longer content with the occasional raising of flags with swastikas and the smearing of walls with such slogans as ‘Juda verrecke’ (Jews perish), but call openly for acts of terror,” the weekly stated.
Thus a spate of recent pamphlets called for arson, bomb attacks and violence against persons and property, and for “murder of all Jews and unpopular politicians.”
Police in Dusseldorf are investigating the activities of a group of “at least 12” young neo-Nazis suspected of spreading National-Socialist literature and forming a neo-Nazi “Workers Party.” The group’s activities were exposed by chance when police, who were checking a car, discovered large quantities of extreme right-wing propaganda literature.