‘No place in our society’: Germany bans neo-Nazi group Combat 18

The German government announced Thursday it had banned the neo-Nazi group Combat 18, an organization founded in Britain that was implicated in the murder of a German municipal official last year.

'No place in our society': Germany bans neo-Nazi group Combat 18
Seized weapons and a shield from the neo-Nazi group "Combat 18" are displayed in the Schleswig-Holstein State Criminal Police Office (LKA) in 2003. Photo: DPA

“Far-right extremism and anti-Semitism do not have a place in our society,” an interior ministry spokesman said on Twitter as justification for the ban on the group's German chapter.

He added that raids against its members were underway in six states.

German authorities have long kept a close eye on the group, which although believed to have only about 20 members, are considered to be willing to commit violent acts.

READ ALSO: German ministers demand ban on far-right group

The neo-Nazi sympathiser suspected of having killed a municipal official for his pro-migrant positions was found to have had contacts with Combat 18.

Combat 18 was founded in Britain in 1992 and the number in its name stands for the first and eight letters of the alphabet — the initials of Adolf Hitler.

The group's motto includes the phrase: “Whatever it takes”.

The ban of the group comes amid a resurgence of racist and anti-Semitic attacks that has prompted questions over how the German state combats right-wing extremism.

In October, two people were killed in an attempted anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue in the town of Halle in eastern Germany.

Several high-profile German politicians have also reported receiving death threats from far-right groups in recent months. 

READ ALSO: Pro-migrant German mayors receive death threats

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New army scandal: Germany vows to punish soldiers caught singing anti-Semitic songs

Germany's Defence Minister on Tuesday vowed to severely punish soldiers stationed in Lithuania who were accused of singing racist and anti-Semitic songs, if the allegations turned out to be true.

New army scandal: Germany vows to punish soldiers caught singing anti-Semitic songs
German soldiers training in Saxony-Anhalt in May. credit: dpa-Zentralbild | Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert

“Whatever happened is in no way acceptable,” said Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Those implicated would be “vigorously prosecuted and punished”, she added.

The Spiegel Online news site had on Monday reported that German soldiers in Lithuania sang racist and anti-Semitic songs during a party at a hotel in April.

One had also sought to sexually assault another soldier while he was asleep, a scene which was caught on film, said Spiegel.

According to Spiegel Online, the scenes took place at a party at which soldiers consumed large quantities of alcohol. They are also alleged to have arranged a “birthday table” for Adolf Hitler on April 20th and to have sung songs for him.

It is unclear to what extent more senior ranked soldiers were aware of the incidents.

Three soldiers have been removed from the contingent stationed in the Baltic country and an investigation is ongoing to identify other suspects, said the report.

The German armed forces have been repeatedly rocked by allegations of right-wing extremism within their ranks.

Kramp-Karrenbauer last year ordered the partial dissolution of the KSK commando force after revelations that some of its members harboured neo-Nazi sympathies.

SEE ALSO: Germany to compensate gay soldiers who faced discrimination