The head of Germany’s Jewish community has accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of tacit approval of right-wing violence.
The criticism levied by the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany follows a spate of violent neo-Nazi crimes in Merkel’s former home city of Templin.
Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the council, told the Passau New Press on Tuesday that Merkel’s failure to speak out on the issue “approaches silent collusion. We must not remain silent any longer,” he said, lest the chancellor “never tire of repeating that she comes from this lovely region.”
Two allegedly right-wing youth have been charged with beating a man to death in Templin on July 22. The state prosecutor has described the murder of Bernd K. as extremely brutal. In keeping with typical patterns in which perpetrators seek out relatively defenseless victims, Bernd K. was a homeless man, age 55.
A few weeks after that incident, police arrested another neo-Nazi in Templin in a violent beating incident, in which the 19-year-old is accused of kicking his victim repeatedly in the head.
Last week, police arrested five youths who reportedly were roaming through a new section of the city, armed and shouting right-wing slogans. According to news reports, the youths were displaying symbols of banned groups.
Templin, where the chancellor grew up, has some 17,000 residents. Many small cities in the former east Germany suffer from high unemployment and a heightened sense of malaise among young men, whom studies have shown are less likely to leave the region than are their female peers.