Extreme and violent German neo-Nazi groups have seen a recent rise in membership, a government official told a German daily on Monday, indicating that extremists in Germany were deserting traditional far-right parties in favor of more violent groups.

Speaking to the Neuen Osnabrücker Zeitung, Heinz Fromm, head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, an organization responsible for gathering intelligence on extremist groups in Germany, warned of a rise in neo-Nazi activity, saying "violent neo-Nazi scene has become stronger."

While Fromm indicated that the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) saw a decrease in membership in 2010, the extremist and often violent Autonomous Nationalists have seen a rise in activity.

"The Autonomous nationalists, who repeatedly make their presence felt through violence during demonstrations, show similar trends," Fromm said. "Among this group, a rise in the past year from 800 to 1,000 people was observed."

In contrast to the NPD, the Autonomous Nationalists reject participation in a political system they view as illegitimate, seeking to implement their political agenda outside of elections.