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Archive for Saturday, March 3, 2001

Neo-Nazi crimes peak in Germany

March 3, 2001

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— Far-right crime in Germany last year reached the highest level since World War II, with offenses surging nearly 60 percent, new government statistics showed Friday, adding urgency to Germany's struggle against neo-Nazis.

After a year in which brutal far-right attacks grabbed attention worldwide, the German government is pursuing plans to outlaw a far-right political party and even considering a ban on jackboots and other typical neo-Nazi attire.

The leader of Germany's Jewish community said the figures should bring an end to any talk that the far-right threat has been exaggerated. He was backed by the head of the domestic intelligence agency, Heinz Fromm, who said the figures are convincing evidence that right-wing violence is on the rise.

"I hope now for a first effective step in fighting right-wing extremism," said Paul Spiegel, the leader of Council of German Jews.

Violent crimes with a far-right, anti-Semitic or anti-foreigner motivation ranging from robbery to murder jumped by 34 percent from 1999, the Interior Ministry said, reaching the highest level since a wave of hate crimes in 1992 and 1993 following German reunification. A total of 998 such offenses including three murders were committed. Anti-Semitic crimes surged by 69 percent to 1,378, while crimes against foreigners rose 57 percent to 3,594.

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