Germany reports spike in far-right crime for 2019
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Germany reports spike in far-right crime for 2019

Politically motivated crimes, such as an October attack on a synagogue in Halle, rose by 14.2% in 2019, marking the second-sharpest jump since records began in 2001

Far-right and neo-Nazi supporters walk through Plauen in eastern Germany, May 1, 2019. (Sebastian Willnow/DPA/AFP via Getty Images/ via JTA)
Far-right and neo-Nazi supporters walk through Plauen in eastern Germany, May 1, 2019. (Sebastian Willnow/DPA/AFP via Getty Images/ via JTA)

BERLIN, Germany — Germany saw a spike in far-right crimes including anti-Semitic attacks last year, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Wednesday, describing the trend as a “great concern.”

Authorities registered more than 41,000 politically motivated crimes in 2019, ranging from hate speech to bodily harm, arson and murder — a rise of 14.2 percent on 2018 and the second-sharpest jump since records began in 2001.

Crimes committed by members of the far-right scene grew 9.4%, and accounted for more than half of all politically-motivated crimes.

Although such crimes represent a small fraction of overall lawbreaking in Germany, the figures have a “striking significance…for the stability of our democracy,” Seehofer said, adding that the rise was “of great concern.”

Picture from October 10, 2019, shows a person with a flag of Israel next to flowers and candles in front of a synagogue in Halle, Germany. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer,file)

Some 93.4% of anti-Semitic and 90.1% of Islamophobic crimes had a far-right motivation, Seehofer said.

Germany has been rocked by a string of extreme-right attacks over the past 12 months.

A gunman with apparent far-right beliefs killed nine people at a hookah bar and a cafe in the city of Hanau in February, while two people were killed in an attack targeting a synagogue in Halle in October.

In June, pro-immigration politician Walter Luebcke was found shot dead at his home in the state of Hesse, and a far-right sympathizer arrested soon afterwards was last month charged with his murder.

Seehofer proclaimed in March that right-wing extremism and right-wing terrorism were “the biggest danger for democracy in Germany,” promising a beefed up security response.

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