Berlin Jews demand action against right wing


BERLIN (JTA) — Berlin’s Jewish community has demanded tougher action against right-wing extremists in Germany after a near-fatal knife attack against the police chief of a Bavarian city.

The neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany should be banned, the head of Berlin’s Jewish community has said.

In a statement issued Dec. 17, Lala Suesskind expressed shock over the attack on Alois Mannichl, the police chief of the Bavarian city of Passau, "whose involvement in the fight against right-wing extremism is well-known." A married couple from Munich was arrested Wednesday in connection with the attack.

The attack, which left Mannichl hospitalized with a wound near his heart, has lent a sense of urgency to ongoing debates about banning the NPD. An attempt in 2003 failed when the government revealed that much of its hard evidence was provided by planted infiltrators, who may themselves have instigated certain illegal activities.

For years, the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany,  Charlotte Knobloch, has been urging the federal government to resume its efforts to ban the NPD.

Suesskind said in the statement that the government should create conditions for a ban that avoid the pitfalls of the last attempt. Ultimately, she wrote, the ban would prevent the NPD from obtaining state matching funds and would remove "the public platform" that the party now has, with representatives on four state legislatures.

Meanwhile, police arrested the Munich couple, who had been held the previous day in connection with the attack and released. The man, 33, and woman, 22, were suspected of helping a perpetrator flee the scene of the crime. Witnesses described seeing two skinheads in the area around the police chief’s home on the day of the attack.

A physical description of the knife-wielding perpetrator has been widely distributed.

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