BONN (Mar. 9)
Neo-Nazis operating in Berlin have become increasingly violent, according to a report by the city’s top security official.
In the report, Joerg Schoenbohm said Berlin’s neo-Nazis were becoming increasingly efficient at coordinating their activities, often using portable telephones and computer technologies to communicate with one another.
The report indicated that the neo-Nazis were moving further underground to avoid detection by the police, giving up the larger banned organizations in favor of small group meetings in members’ homes.
German investigators say the former East Berlin has become the center of the country’s neo-Nazi movement. From Berlin, they add, the extremists mobilize supporters across Germany.
The federal office that monitors the activities of political extremists recently warned in a report that Berlin’s neo-Nazis pose a threat of terrorism to the country at large.
In his report, Schoenbohm said Berlin neo-Nazis were involved in 14 bombings during 1996, up from three in the previous year.
Neo-Nazis caused 76 serious injuries last year, up from 60 in the previous year, the report said, adding that there were 150 cases in 1996 in which extremists violated laws prohibiting the possession of arms, double the previous year’s number.
The statistics he provided confirmed a trend observed by security officials in recent years.
Since Germany’s unification in 1990, police have confiscated increasing amounts of arms and hate propaganda from neo-Nazi groups operating in Berlin.