A new German agency tasked with advising local authorities on how to counteract neo-Nazis was announced in Berlin Tuesday, two months after the exposure of an anti-immigrant gang that has been blamed for 10 deadly shooting.
Germany Family Affairs Minister Kristina Schroeder said the information and skill agency would be a one-stop source of advice to municipalities seeking ways to check neo-Nazi recruiters.
She spoke after a day-long meeting in Berlin with church activists and youth workers.
A survey this week funded by parliament suggested many German schoolchildren use "Jew" as a term of abuse and 20 percent of Germans are latently anti-Semitic.
The new agency would advise youth workers on effective ways to thwart neo-Nazis. "We have to better grasp that attacks on minorities are attacks on ourselves as a whole," said Schroeder in Berlin after the meeting. However, she said her ministry's anti-Nazi annual budget of 24 million euros (31 million dollars) was unlikely to be expanded.
German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said he wanted to deny neo-Nazis any refuge in society. "Only when we all actively stand up for democracy and tolerance can we root out right-wing extremism from our society," he said.
In November, police blamed three neo-Nazis who had met as teenagers in the 1990s for nine unsolved murders of immigrant shopkeepers and the shooting of a police officer. Two of the three killed themselves before arrest and the survivor is in custody, awaiting indictment.
The chairman of Germany's Central Council of Jews, Dieter Graumann, criticized the slow pace of the inquiry into the 10 killings. "The authorities are in continued hibernation in investigating these dreadful acts," he said in an interview.
A parliamentary commission of inquiry into the killings is scheduled to be set up on Thursday by a resolution in the Bundestag.
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