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1400 Neo-nazis Active in West Germany, Interior Minister Says

Interior Minister Gerhart Baum said today that there are 1400 neo-Nazi activists at large in West Germany, of whom 140 are prepared to resort to violence to further their political aims. He said that 400 individuals and organizations have been registered by the domestic security services as contributors to or fund-raisers for neo-Nazi groups.

Baum made the disclosure following the discover of 30 separate weapons caches in the Luneburger Heide region of Lower Saxony, used by neo-Nazi and extreme right-wing organizations. However, the figures he cited apparently do not include activists who belong to the more “established” neo-Nazi groups such as the National Democratic Party (NPD) which has a membership of about 8300 according to the security services.

Official sources said the largest organization of right-wing extremists in the Federal Republic is the German Peoples Union which, with affiliated groups, has a membership of 13,500. It is headed by Gerhard Frey, publisher of the weekly German National Newspaper.

Meanwhile, Alfred Emmerlich, chairman of the Bundestag’s Justice Committee, conceded today that the authorities have underestimated the extent of neo-Nazi propaganda and extreme right-wing terrorism in West Germany. He said it was absolutely necessary to plug loopholes in present laws aimed against such activities.

Emmerlich’s committee is currently reviewing the government’s proposals for tighter legislation against neo-Nazi propaganda. Most SPD members support such moves. But influential members of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and of the SPD’s junior coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), have expressed reservations.

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