BONN (Nov. 13)
There are more neo-Nazis operating in the territory of the former East Germany than in the whole of the former East Germany than in the whole of the former West Germany, according to a senior official of the Verfassungsschutz, Germany’s FBI.
Peter Frisch was quoted in an interview published Tuesday in the Flensburger Tageblatt, the newspaper of the northern German town of Flensburg, which is located just south of the Danish border.
Without giving specific details, Frisch said the authorities had trouble keeping track of right-wing extremist groups in former East Germany, where the existence of neo-Nazi organizations had been all but denied by the deposed Communist regime.
The population of what had been East Germany is about one-fourth that of what was West Germany.
Frisch said that right-wing groups in the former territory of East Germany, particularly the Skinheads, display even stronger right-wing tendencies than those in former West Germany.
The situation is all the more serious as many foreign observers are closely scrutinizing the newly united Germany for signs of neo-Nazi extremism, the official said.
Last month, hundreds of neo-Nazi demonstrators marched through Dresden, in former East Germany, shouting racist slogans.
Earlier this month, Neo-Nazi and other violence at a soccer game in Leipzig led to the police shooting of one person, who died.
ADDRESS THE PROBLEM
Heinz Galinski, who is head of Germany’s Jewish community, called Tuesday on government leaders to address the problem before it gets out of hand.
The Auschwitz survivor said that since unification, hardly a day goes by that there are not street fights involving neo-Nazis.
But he said he was not opposed to unification and expressed happiness at seeing the Berlin Wall gone.
On Monday, Galinski and other former Nazi persecutees called for an anti-Nazi clause to be included in the country’s new constitution.
At a hearing of the parliamentary faction of the Green party, Jewish Holocaust survivors said such a clause was needed particularly now, in view of the alarming growth of right-wing extremism.
Rose Goldstein, of the International Auschwitz Committee, pointed out that changes in or amendments to the constitution were necessary in light of the unification of the country.
This is the chance, she said, to tackle the problem of neo-Nazism with a clear constitutional commitment.
Former member of Knesset Chaika Grossman, who attended the session with the group, criticized Germany’s failure to include a reference to the Holocaust in its unity treaty. She said the newly united country should ban neo-Nazi groups completely.
Experts and politicians who appeared before the hearing expressed grave concern over the success of right-wing extremists in garnering support from youths in various urban centers, including Berlin.
A long-standing Allied ban on neo-Nazi groups in Berlin was recently lifted as the war-time Allies forfeited control over the city.
The Greens plan to initiate several changes in the constitution. But they have not decided whether to support an outright ban of neo-Nazi activities.