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West Germany Cracks Down on Neo-nazi Organizations

The biggest crackdown on neo-Nazis in West Germany in recent years was undertaken last week. In a nationwide coordinated action, police searched hundreds of apartments and homes in nine federal states and confiscated large quantities of weapons, ammunition, Nazi symbols and Nazi propaganda material.

The crackdown was aimed primarily at the Action Front of National Socialists head by Michael Kuehnen, which was declared illegal last week. According to police, the hard core of the Front has become increasingly violent. Members of the organization have been charged with various offenses, ranging from displaying banned symbols to complicity in murders.

The Internal Security Service, similar to the American FBI, reported that recently Kuehnen recruited to his group former members of another outlawed militant neo-Nazi group, a so-called sports organization, led by Heinz Hoffmann. According to the Internal Security Service, this recruitment drive has dramatically increased the danger of terrorist activities since the former members of the Hoffmann group received military training at the Palestine Liberation Organization’s installations in Beirut from 1980 through 1982.

During 1983, neo-Nazis were responsible for 52 violent public demonstrations and threatened a reported 118 people with violence for opposing their policies, the Internal Security Service reported. The banning of the Action Front of National Socialists followed similar actions this year against two other extremist organizations, the Turkish “Leftwing Revolutionaries” and the “Hell’s Angels.”

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