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West Germany Cracking Down on Neo-nazi Groups and Activists

West German authorities, thoroughly alarmed by the prospects of escalating rightwing violence, have begun to take sterner measures against neo-Nazi groups and activists, some of whom have been linked to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The latest manifestation of the tougher attitude was the announcement yesterday that four neo-Nazis have been accused by the federal prosecutor in Stuttgart of organizing a terrorist group active against Jews and foreigners. At the same time, the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD) has moved to tighten legislation barring neo-Nazi propaganda.

Meanwhile, further details of the long-known link between the outlawed Wehrsportsgruppe Hoffmann and the PLO were published this week in the Bonner Rundschau. The neo-Nazi organization, headed by Karl Heinz Hoffman, was banned last year after its masquerade as a sports club was exposed. According to the newspaper, Hoffman and his female friend, Franziska Brinkman, led a group of 16 persons who spent time at a PLO installation south of Beirut last year to receive training in terrorist tactics and the use of firearms.

The paper reported that three members of the group, including 21-year-old Kai Uwe Bergmann, found conditions at the camp intolerable and tried to escape. They were captured and tortured by Hoffmann and his cohorts. They managed to escape again in September, 1980, the Bonner Rundschau said, and were given flight tickets back to Germany by the German Embassy in Beirut. But as they boarded the plane, they were seized by PLO guards and taken back to the training camp.

In June, 1981, the Bonn Foreign Ministry made a deal with the PLO to allow the three to return to West Germany where they gave the press a full account of their experiences. According to the newspaper, the three warned that a major terrorist raid was planned for August, 1981.

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