Germany Experiences a Resurgence in neo-Nazis, Intel Agency Finds

The number of individuals in Germany who espouse extreme political views rose by nine per cent last year to 126,000, according to a report by Germany's domestic security agency

A person holds a placard reading "NSU state & Nazis hand in hand" in front of a Munich court before judges give their verdict in the trial of suspected NSU neo-Nazi gang member Beate Zschaepe in Munich, Germany July 11, 2018.
\ MICHAELA REHLE/ REUTERS

The number of individuals in Germany who espouse extreme political views rose by nine per cent last year to 126,000, according to a report by Germany's domestic security agency (Verfassungsschutz) released Tuesday.

"That's a very high number in my opinion," domestic intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maassen said on presenting the annual report for 2017 in Berlin.

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Major groups of concerns highlighted by German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer in the report include right- and left-wing extremists and Islamists.

The number of Islamist "Gefaehrder," a term used to designate people deemed willing and prepared to commit acts of terrorism, rose from 500 to 775 between June 2016 and 2017. Some of these are incarcerated, however.

The number of individuals assigned to the extreme right at the end of 2017 by the intelligence agency increased to 24,000 up from 23,100, while the number of neo-Nazis rose from 540 to 600.

However, the number of violent crimes motivated by racism committed by individuals belonging to the extreme right fell by 35 per cent. The report attributed this drop to a reduction in the number of mass refugee accommodation centres, which were frequently the target of attacks.

Another sharp spike was observed among Germany's extremist "Reich Citizen" and "Selbstverwalter" sovereign citizen movements.

There are currently 16,500 people active in this scene - up from 12,800 in 2016.

"Reich Citizens" and "Selbstverwalter" refer to a loose grouping of people in Germany who do not recognize the authority of the current system of government.

The number of individuals assigned to the extreme left also increased by four per cent, reaching 29,500.