“A whiff of 1933”
Sharp rise in far-right attacks in Germany
Marianne Arens and Ulrich Rippert
22 September 2018
Only a few weeks have passed since right-wing extremist thugs and neo-fascists organised an assault on foreigners in the German city of Chemnitz on 26 and 27 August. Ever since, leading politicians, led by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (Christian Social Union, CSU) and ex-president of the domestic secret service Hans-Georg Maassen, have sought to downplay the events.
Maassen denied that a racist attack had taken place. Seehofer declared immigration to be “the mother of all problems” and later added that if he were an ordinary citizen, he would have been on the streets in Chemnitz. When the interior minister made these comments it was already known that a dozen neo-Nazis had attacked the Jewish Schalom restaurant in Chemnitz with stones, glass bottles, and steel pipes, and insulted the owner with anti-Semitic slurs.
No disciplinary measures were taken against Maassen for his denial and he was not held to account. Instead, in negotiations involving all government parties, he was promoted. He will now advance the policies of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Interior Ministry, where he will serve as state secretary for domestic security.
These developments have strengthened and encouraged the AfD and other far-right groups, who comprise a small and despised minority in Germany. The neo-Nazi thugs feel they are protected from criminal prosecution and emboldened to act ever more aggressively.
Victim support groups report that racist, anti-Semitic and far-right attacks are rising at an alarming rate. Neo-Nazi attacks and acts of violence occur on almost a daily basis.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung published extracts from a chronology…