BONN (Dec. 27)
In a widening crackdown on violence against foreigners, German authorities have banned another neo-Nazi group, the third in four weeks.
The outlawing last week of the National offensive, a group that operated mainly in Saxony and Bavaria, followed police raids on offices and apartments in which large quantities of light weapons, propaganda and illegal Nazi symbols were found.
The Dec. 22 ban followed one Dec. 10 on a group called the German Alternative and an earlier one, Nov. 27, on the National Front.
In announcing the latest ban, Interior Minister Rudolf Seiters said that members of all three groups had greatly contributed to the recent wave of neo- Nazi violence in the country.
The National Offensive was established in July 1990 in Augsburg, Bavaria, near Munich. After Germany’s reunification that October, the group expanded its arena of activity to eastern Germany and recruited some 140 members and many other supporters.
Seiters said the group disseminated anti-Semitic propaganda and agitated against foreigners.
He said this latest ban is further proof that the government is serious in its campaign against neo-Nazi violence.
Meanwhile, a multitude of German people are making known their opposition to the neo-Nazi violence that has taken the country by storm.
More then 200,000 people took to the streets Dec. 22 in Frankfurt, Germany’s financial center, to demonstrate against the wave of violence against foreigners.
Last Friday evening, nearly a quarter-million people turned out in the center of Berlin, in an impressive show of protest against racism and anti-Semitism.
Jerzy Kanal, the leader of Berlin’s Jewish community, was joined by many members of the community in the demonstration. And in homes and apartments, thousands of candles were lit in windows to show solidarity with the marchers.
Then on Saturday, large numbers turned out on the border with Poland for the first joint German-Polish vigil against neo-Nazi extremists.
The demonstration was held on the Neisse Bridge, between the German town of Guben and its Polish twin city of the same name. More than 100,000 people from both sides of the border carried candles and flashlights and lined the streets of both towns, forming a human chain of light against racism and ant-Semitism.