Germany bans far-right group that tried to indoctrinate children with Nazi ideology

Interior minister lauds ‘hard blow’ against extremism as police raid dozens of homes of Artgemeinschaft members, says organization spreads racist worldview under cover of religion

Illustrative: Police patrol in Alsdorf, near Aachen, western Germany, November 17, 2015. (Hermann J. Knippertz/AP)
Illustrative: Police patrol in Alsdorf, near Aachen, western Germany, November 17, 2015. (Hermann J. Knippertz/AP)

BERLIN — The German government on Wednesday banned a far-right, racist group known for its indoctrination of children as police raided dozens of homes of its members and other buildings early in the morning.

A statement from the German interior ministry said it banned the Artgemeinschaft group, an anti-democratic association with around 150 members. All of its sub-organizations, including the Gefaehrtschaften, Gilden, Freundeskreise, and Familienwerk e.V., were also banned, the ministry said.

“We are banning a sectarian, deeply racist and antisemitic association,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said.

“This is another hard blow against right-wing extremism and (those) who continue to spread Nazi ideologies to this day,” she said, adding that the organization had attempted to indoctrinate their children and young people with their anti-democratic ideology.

Under the cover of a pseudo-religious Germanic belief in gods, the Artgemeinschaft spread its Nazi worldview, the ministry said.

“The group’s central goal was the preservation and promotion of one’s own ‘kind,’ which can be equated with the National Socialist term ‘race’,” according to the statement.

In addition to the ideology of racial doctrine, the symbolism, narratives and activities of the group showed further parallels to the Nazis’ ideology.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser attends the cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, September 27, 2023. (Markus Schreiber/AP)

The group gave its members instructions on how to choose a “proper spouse” within the Northern and Central European “humankind” in order to pass on the “correct” genetic makeup according to the association’s racist ideology. People of other origins were degraded, the ministry said in its statement.

In early morning raids across 12 states, police searched 26 apartments of 39 group members as well as the organization’s clubhouses.

Last week, the German government banned the neo-Nazi group Hammerskins Germany and raided homes of dozens of its members. The group was an offshoot of an American ring-wing extremist group and played a prominent role in the far-right scene across Europe.

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