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Germany bans group dedicated to reestablishing a Nazi state

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer at a news conference in Berlin in 2018.
(Michael Sohn / Associated Press)

The German government has banned a far-right group dedicated to reestablishing a Nazi dictatorship, saying there is “no place in this country for an association that sows hatred.”

The ban prompted more than 180 police officers in three states to raid the homes of 11 members of Wolfsbrigade 44, the Interior Ministry said. The raids Tuesday in Hesse, Mecklenburg West-Pomerania and North Rhine-Westphalia were aimed at confiscating the group’s funds and propaganda material, the German news agency DPA reported.

“Whoever fights against the basic values of our free society will get to feel the resolute reaction of our government,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said. “There’s no place in this country for an association that sows hatred and works on the resurrection of a Nazi state.”

The members of the group want to reestablish a Nazi dictatorship and abolish democracy, the Interior Ministry said. The “44" in its name is a doubling of the fourth letter of the alphabet, “DD” — an abbreviation for Division Dirlewanger. Oskar Dirlewanger was a known Nazi war criminal and commander of a Nazi SS special unit.

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The far-right group, founded in 2016, is known for its anti-Semitic and racist ideology as well as its violent and aggressive appearances in public and on social media.

On Tuesday, officers found knives, a machete, a crossbow and bayonets during their raids. They also seized Nazi devotional objects such as swastikas and flags.

A right-wing racially motivated terror attack on three hookah bars that left nine dead has left Germany deeply unsettled

Earlier this year, the German government banned other far-right groups, including Combat 18 and the Nordadler, DPA reported.

In a separate investigation, the German Defense Ministry said that eight suspects had been questioned by military intelligence Tuesday in connection with an investigation that has been going on since the end of last year. The investigation is centered on soldiers and several civilian employees working at a regional office of the military in Ulm, who are thought to be linked to the so-called Reichsbuerger — “Reich citizens” — movement.

The movement bears similarities to far-right movements in the U.S. and elsewhere that reject the authority of the state and embrace esoteric conspiracy theories.

“There isn’t any room in the military for enemies of the constitution,” Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in a statement.


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