Neo-Nazi youth organisation banned

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble banned neo-Nazi youth group the Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend (HDJ) on Tuesday as police staged early morning raids at member homes in several states.

Neo-Nazi youth organisation banned
Photo: DPA

Government officials notified the HDJ (“German youth loyal to the homeland”), which is registered in Kiel, that the right wing extremist group is now officially dissolved, media reports said. Meanwhile police entered the homes of members in the states of Lower Saxony, Berlin and Brandenburg to confiscate club funds.

According to the Interior Ministry, the group is in violation of a club law, which says groups that violate constitutional law or go against international understanding can be banned.

“We will do everything we can to protect our children and young people from these pied pipers,” Schäuble said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the ban would put the “the disgusting activities of the HDJ to an end.”

Germany’s decision to combat right-wing extremism in this way applies “in particular to the case of the HDJ, where youth work was abused in an effort to transform children and young people into dedicated national socialists.”

Broadcaster MDR reported that the Interior Ministry based its decision off of evidence collected in October 2008 raids which proved the group to be actively combative and therefore illegal.

Confiscated items include educational materials for children that discuss “blood purity” and the “the threat to survival of the German people by Jews and foreigners,” in addition to items that glorify the country’s Nazi past.

Founded in 1990, the HDJ is believed to have several hundred members and has been considered one the most radical neo-Nazi groups in the country.

The group is known to have drilled several hundred children in Hitler Youth-style ideology at youth camps where tents have names like “the Führer bunker.”

Interior Ministry figures show that far right extremist crime increased by up to 30 percent last year.


Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.