Tuesday, January 18

Germany rules out a “far-right structural problem” in its security forces


Correspondent in Berlin

Updated:

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The German Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, appeared before the media last September to acknowledge that 29 German policemen had been suspended for belonging to a chat group that shared photographs of Hitler and racist propaganda since at least 2012. The existence of that group, which was massively condemned from institutional and political instances, caused the impression that the extreme right, in the form of neo-Nazi groups, was infiltrated the German security forces, a point that Minister Seehofer denied today, with the presentation of the first investigation of this type to be carried out in the country. The German security forces “do not have any extreme right-wing structural problems,” he said. Federal and state security authorities registered 377 suspected cases of right-wing extremism in their own ranks between the beginning of 2017 and this spring, which is “a tiny minority when we take into account the number of people who work for them.”

In the Bundesländer, the authorities recorded 319 suspected cases. The rest corresponds to the federal police, which can carry out various procedures based on a suspicion, according to disciplinary and criminal law. According to the report, there are also 1,064 suspected cases in the Bundeswehr’s counterintelligence military service. “Each one of the cases is too much and each one of the cases is a shame for Germany”, has said Seehofer, “but it must also be said that 99% of our civil servants work in the constitutional field”.

The report was prepared by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and its president, Thomas Haldenwang, has stressed that the range of recorded incidents is wide and that the complaints are very heterogeneous. Cases with characteristics typical of the extreme right were those related to racism, anti-Semitism or the glorification of National Socialism. The president of the Federal Police, Dieter Romann, has exposed the study statistics that refer to his department, 44 suspected cases of which 24 were from the extreme right and 20 of racist origin. “With more than 50,000 federal policeThis corresponds to a proportion of less than 0.09% ”, he emphasized. “Given these numbers, I see no reason to speak of any extreme right-wing police network,” Romann insisted.

«I think it is a false approach blaming a problem of racism on the police or security forcesAs well as denying that there is a problem of racism, “Minister Seehofer has valued,” the correct approach is to recognize that racism is a social problem, of society as a whole. Taking advantage of the presentation of the report, Seehofer has appealed to police personnel, criminal investigation offices and the protection of the Constitution to examine more closely these types of cases and allow them from within without regard, “and thus defend actively the Constitution ”. “Passive followers are not allowed either,” the minister added.

The publication of this type of report is also intended to put an end to unacceptable behavior that rarely came to light in the past. In 2020, the successful author of political satire Idil Baydar, who criticizes everyday racism in Germany, received a death threat signed by an alleged “SS-Obersturmbannführer”, which could be translated as superior head of the assault unit of the National Socialist Protection Squads, an organization in the service of Adolf Hitler responsible for organizing the Jewish genocide, of terror and death. The trail of the perpetrator led directly to the Hesse State Police. Since 2018, several politicians have received emails with threats from the same origin and a president of the Police had to resign from his post. And it is no secret that graffiti with swastika and Islamophobic slogans is multiplying in police academies in Berlin and Brandenburg.

For the vice-president of the police union, Jörg Radek, the answer is clear: “There is no structural racism in the German Police”. “These are isolated cases that most repel.” The International Committee of Auschwitz and the Council of the Gypsies of Germany consider on the contrary that «the cases until now revealed long ago that could no longer be considered isolated events‘, In the words of the Committee’s vice president, Christoph Heubner. “The extreme right in the police is very worrying and we cannot look the other way just to try to avoid a negative image of Germany abroad,” adds the president of the gypsy group, Romani Rose.

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