Number of neo-Nazi crimes in Germany up 30 percent: daily


Berlin : The number of neo-Nazi crimes surged 30 percent during the first 10 months of 2008 to reach a new year-high of nearly 12,000 delicts, the daily Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported in its Saturday edition.

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The German Interior Ministry registered 11,928 far-right crimes until the end of October of this year, compared to 9,206 neo-Nazi delicts during the same corresponding period in 2007.

Earlier this month, the German government had expressed strong concern over a new level of neo-Nazi violence following the recent near-fatal stabbing of a police chief in the south German city of Passau, widely regarded as a bastion of right-wing extremist political activity.

Chief government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm warned also about new quality “of far-right violence.”
He voiced abhorrence over the “horrific act,” branding it a “very grave challenge” for German rule of law.

Alois Mannichl, the 52-year-old chief of police in Passau, survived an assault outside his home by a bald-headed man who screamed neo-Nazi slogans.

The knife rammed into Mannichl’s chest missed his heart by only two centimeters.

Mannichl faced the wrath of Passau’s neo-Nazis for his crackdown on the far-right political scene.

Meanwhile, Wilhelm stressed the important need to isolate across Germany whom he called the “enemies of freedom.”
Failure to act against the far-right could result in the creation of another unjust state, he made clear.

The number of German neo-Nazis has continued to rise over the past year, according to official statistics.

Political observers link the dramatic increase in the number of far-right crimes to the recent success of neo-Nazi parties in key regional elections in several east German states.

Young neo-Nazis feel more and more emboldened to commit hate crimes, knowing police would not charge them with an offense.

Most of the suspects implicated in far-right crimes are juveniles.

Hate crime experts and sociologists have repeatedly stressed that Germany’s political leadership lacks a clear and effective strategy to fight neo-Nazi crimes in the wake of a series of brutal racial attacks against foreigners over the past months.

Around 4,400 neo-Nazis belonged to the hardcore German far-right scene last year which is 200 more than in 2006.

Neo-Nazis have also successfully managed to blend into mainstream German society by joining local sports and social clubs and volunteering for neighborhood groups where they are luring disenchanted jobless teenagers and long-term unemployed.