BONN (Aug. 26)
Incidents of neo-Nazi violence in Germany were up 76 percent in 1992 over the previous year, the Interior Ministry has reported.
The report also showed that 17 people were killed in 1992 as a result of the neo-Nazis’ xenophobic violence against asylum-seekers and foreign workers.
The report was prepared by the Internal Security Service, which maintains surveillance of extremist groups.
The report said that there had been a total of 2,584 violent incidents by neo-Nazis in the time since the security service has been tracking their activities.
The high number of violent incidents indicates that the problem of right-wing extremism has taken on “new dimensions,” said the report.
Previous reports had tended to play down neo-Nazi violence, concentrating instead on left-wing terrorism.
The latest report found that the number of far-right groups considered dangerous increased to 82 even though some were banned last year.
The report was applauded by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. “We are pleased to see that the government seems to finally be convinced that it must treat the threat of the far right the way extreme-left groups were previously dealt with,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean.
“Better police surveillance, infiltration and other pro-active policies are exactly the measures that need to be taken if the tide of Nazi-inspired death and mayhem is to be stopped,” he said.
Earlier this year, the Wiesenthal Center concluded a six-month undercover operation inside Germany’s neo-Nazi movement, finding it far more extensive than previous official reports had maintained.
Meanwhile, German experts are divided on whether the bans on several particularly violent neo-Nazi organizations have helped the authorities in their fight against right-wing extremism.
For example, the mayor of Dolgenbrot, a town near Berlin, has repeatedly denied that town residents hired neo-Nazis to firebomb a local hostel for asylum-seekers last November.
But he confirmed that the residents had strong feelings against the construction of the hostel, and that they were angry that the refugees had been assigned to live in their town.
According to local reports, young neo-Nazis had been paid some $1,200, allegedly collected by the town’s residents, to burn down the hostel.
The arson attack enabled state authorities to send the asylum-seekers to Dolgenbrot.