West German Neo-nazi Groups Reported to Have Combined Membership of 22,500
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West German Neo-nazi Groups Reported to Have Combined Membership of 22,500

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The Interior Ministry reported this week that neo-Nazi organizations in West Germany have a combined membership of about 22,500, that several of them are prone to violence and that extremists on the far right have one thing in common with extremists of the far left — anti-Americanism.

But while emphasizing that aspect, the Ministry made no mention of recent anti-Semitic manifestations involving members of the mainstream political parties that were serious enough to prompt a full scale debate in the Bundestag. These included a remark by the mayor of one town, affiliated with the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), that “killing a few rich Jews” would balance the municipal budget.

An official of the Christian Social Union (SCU), the CDU’s Bavarian sister-party, created a scandal when he said, with reference to reparations claims by Jews used as slave labor during World War II, that “Jews always show up when money jingles in German cash boxes.”


The Interior Ministry’s report noted that there were 78 neo-Nazi groups in 1985, the largest being the German Peoples Union with a membership of 12,000. The second largest, with a membership of 6,100 was led by the National Democratic Party (NPD). The NPD has made repeated but unsuccessful attempts in recent years to get its candidates elected to the Bundestag and to state parliaments.

Its one success, the report said, was in the state elections of delegates to the Strasbourg-based Parliament of Europe where the NPD group won nearly five percent of the popular vote.

The report singled out two other groups, the Social Revolutionists and National Revolutionists as militants who resorted to violence. They have gained influence with the radical right, the report said.

Both rightwing and leftwing extremists denounce American “imperialism” and spread hostility against Americans stationed in West Germany, the report said. They depict Americans here as representatives of a foreign power trying to impose its will on the German people against their own interests.

The report said that 3,550 of West Germany’s Arab residents are affiliated with such groups as the Palestine Liberation Organization. According to the report, PLO dissidents opposed to Yasir Arafat have failed to attract substantial support among Arab extremists in the country.

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