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CRIME

Jewish Council says anti-Semitism still rife

The Central Council of Jews in Germany sees anti-Semitic forces on the march in Germany, despite last month’s banning of the neo-Nazi youth group the Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend (HDJ).

Jewish Council says anti-Semitism still rife
The now-banned HDJ Photo: DPA

Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the council said that much of the mainstream political protest against anti-Semitism was largely window-dressing.

Talking to news agency DDP, Kramer said anti-Semitism was “once again widespread in all areas of German society.” He said fighting it was, “mostly only a dutiful expression in the political arena,” rather than real conviction.

He said the presence of neo-Nazis in state legislatures was a damning indictment of all democratic parties, and added, “The question must be must permitted of whether Germany is at best a fair-weather democracy. Until now no-one has been able to give a convincing answer to this question, in order to contradict it.”

He said the NPD, the neo-Nazi party which remains legal despite government attempts to ban it, played an important role not only in fostering but also in enabling anti-Semitism in Germany.

“Although the NPD is tail-spinning from one institutional and financial crisis to the next, there is no reason for an all-clear signal – just the opposite, as the radical powers are going about taking over the leadership of the far-Right scene.”

He said the concentration on the NPD had distracted from other, less visible organisations. The debate about whether to ban it was a pointless one he said, and simply served as an alibi to show that the politicians were engaging with the problem while other problems were ignored.

The HDJ case simply illustrated what a broad basis the radical Right scene already had, he said, adding, “Happily it has now finally been banned, but it had already been carrying out its mischief for far too long.” It demonstrated, he said, “how the neo-Nazis are very successfully active with their long-term aims of working on recruiting the next generation.”

He warned, “The ban of the HDJ will remain just a cosmetic measure if we do not now finally pay more attention to the area of youth work and offer alternatives.” He criticised the family ministry for its inaction, saying it continued to disappoint, particularly in youth work in rural areas.

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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