Status: 27.09.2023, 16:00 p.m.
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) in the German Bundestag. © Michael Kappeler/dpa
Last week, the Minister of the Interior banned a neo-Nazi group. Now it's against other right-wing extremists. The police search the homes of supporters of a racist association with pseudo-religious ideology.
Berlin/Mainz - Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) has banned another right-wing extremist association. Police forces searched on Wednesday morning 26 apartments of 39 members as well as rooms of the association "The Artgemeinschaft - Germanische Glaubens-Gemeinschaft wesensgerechter Lebensgestaltung" in twelve federal states, as the Ministry of the Interior in Berlin announced.
The ban against the association, which often met in a hotel in Thuringia, had been prepared for more than a year, according to the ministry. The findings of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution were decisive, it said. The unification is directed against the constitutional order and the idea of international understanding.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, according to the State Ministry of the Interior, around ten officers from the State Criminal Police Office and the Mainz Police Headquarters searched the residential property of a married couple in the Alzey-Worms district. "The individuals are long-standing members of the organization, which was founded in 1951," it said. Among other things, the police seized communication and IT equipment as well as documents. Overall, the "species community" in the state is attributed to a number of people in the mid-single-digit range, it said.
After the ban of the "Hammerskins Germany", the rule of law shows once again "that it is able to defend itself and resolutely counters right-wing extremist sentiments," said Interior Minister Michael Ebling (SPD). Right-wing extremism continues to pose the greatest threat to the free democratic basic order. How seriously the state takes this threat is documented by "the decisive action of the security authorities."
In a statement, Faeser described "Die Artgemeinschaft" as a "sect-like, deeply racist and anti-Semitic association". The minister also justified her decision with the best interests of the child: "This right-wing extremist group has tried to raise new enemies of the constitution through a disgusting indoctrination of children and young people."
According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the ban also includes all sub-organizations of the movement, which, according to the ministry's estimates, has around 150 members. These included so-called "companionships", "guilds", "circles of friends" and an association called "Familienwerk". According to the information, the search was carried out in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Brandenburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia. From security circles, it was said that a larger settlement for communal living had not been founded by the "Artgemeinschaft".
Last week, Faeser banned the elite neo-Nazi group "Hammerskins Deutschland". Above all, due to the "manipulatively indoctrinating education of their children" and the distribution of corresponding writings, the "species community" is no less dangerous than the "hammerskins", said the minister.
In justifying the ban, her ministry stated that the settler movement was spreading a world view that violated human dignity under the guise of a pseudo-religious Germanic belief in the gods. The central goal was the preservation and promotion of one's own "kind", which was to be equated with the National Socialist concept of "race".
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It is worthwhile to work out connections between the "Artgemeinschaft" and the right-wing extremist terrorist cell "National Socialist Underground", said the parliamentary secretary of the Green parliamentary group, Irene Mihalic. In addition, the right-wing extremist Stephan Ernst, who shot Kassel district president Walter Lübcke in 2019, is said to have temporarily belonged to the now banned association. According to information from security circles, this is indicated by an old list of members.
Misbah Khan, a politician for the Greens, spoke of an important blow to the organized right-wing scene. But it needs more than bans on associations. She said: "We must finally drain the financial structures of the right-wing extremists, promote their disarmament and launch a consistent overall strategy against the right."
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution lists the settlement efforts of right-wing extremists separately in its current annual report. The report states that the aim of these movements is mostly the "preservation of the Germans". "Germanness" is defined here primarily with recourse to the ethnic concept of the people in the sense of the völkisch "blood-and-soil" ideology. The "species community" does not appear here. In a 2020 publication by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the community was described as "currently the largest German neo-Nazi association with nationalist, racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian characteristics". Its members are encouraged to have as many children as possible.
The "American Jewish Committee Berlin" welcomed the ban. In a statement, it said: "Since its foundation in 1951, the association has taken on a central ideological and organizational hinge function between various neo-Nazi and right-wing extremist milieus and organizations that reached into the field of right-wing terrorism." dpa