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Far-right crimes in Germany hit record high

May 5, 2021 at 1:52 pm

Relatives, friends and witnesses meet in front of and in the rooms of the victims’ initiative ‘saytheirnames’ near the first crime scene at Heumarkt on the shooting’s first anniversary on February 19, 2021 in Hanau, Germany [Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images]

Germany’s Interior Minister has said that far-right crimes in the country have hit a record high.

Far-right offences accounted for more than half of all politically motivated crimes and are at their highest level in 20 years since police started collecting data in 2001.

Horst Seehofer has said that politically motivated crime is a growing problem with groups targeting immigrants, refugees, black Germans, displaying Nazi symbols, carrying out anti-Semitic attacks and targeting Asian people.

Seehofer said that Islamist crime was higher than in previous years. There were 49 more attacks last year than in 2016, when numbers soared because of the refugee crisis.

“Right-wing extremism is the biggest threat for security in our country as the majority of racist crimes are committed by people within this group,” said Seehofer.

He also said that right-wing violence had left a “trail of blood” throughout Germany.

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In February last year gunman Tobias Rathjen shot nine people in a shisha bar in Hanau known to be frequented by non-Germans or people of non-German descent, killed his mother at home, and then shot himself.

Among the dead were Turks, a Bosnian, a Bulgarian, a Romanian citizen, and a pregnant woman.

Rathjen uploaded a 24-page manifesto in which he called for the elimination of several Middle Eastern countries.

There have been other attacks in Germany on Syrian refugees including an arson attack. The man who survived filed a complaint against German police for failing to consider the far-right xenophobic motive.

On Monday evening, a 53-year-old man thought to be behind over 100 anti-foreigner letters containing death threats sent to prominent Germans was arrested in Berlin.

The accused signed his letters with NSU 2.0 in reference to the neo-Nazi terror cell National Socialist Underground which has killed ten people in racially motivated attacks, including eight Turks, one Greek immigrant and a female police officer.

He has been previously convicted of crimes including ones motivated by right-wing ideology.