14 November 2011
A series of neo-Nazi murders across Germany was showing the urgency of banning the country's biggest right-extremist party, local Jewish leaders have said. Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the DPA news agency that the neo-Nazi "flagship" had to be "sunk, politically and legally." His predecessor Knobloch, a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, said in an interview with the news agency DPAD that many German politicians had not done enough in the fight against the extreme right. “We have been warning for years and asked for more sincerity and effort. Our concerns were not taken seriously.” She also reiterated a call to have the NPD party and other neo-Nazis groups banned by the courts.
The Jewish leaders’ comments came following the arrest on Sunday of a 37-year-old man in Hamburg, suspected of belonging to the group National Socialist Underground (NSU), a new organization thought to be responsible for what is being called Germany's longest wave of far-right violence since World War II. The NSU is suspected of involvement in the murders of eight Turkish immigrants and one Greek between 2000 and 2006, and the killing of a police officer in 2007.
German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told journalists that the group represented a "new form of terrorism" in Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel referred to the alleged activities of the NSU as "shocking" and “shameful for Germany”.
Two other suspects in the string of murders were found dead last week in a burning camper trailer in the town of Eisenach. Police said they suspected the two had shot themselves after police had included them as suspects in an attempted bank robbery. The man arrested in Hamburg allegedly had contact with the others, and is suspected of renting the camper trailer used by the murderers of the 22-year-old policewoman in 2007.
Police found a video in which the murders of the immigrants were celebrated and counted off.
The string of crimes revealed "a new dimension of right-wing terrorism," Graumann told the newspaper ‘Handelsblatt’, adding: "The evidence appears to confirm that we are dealing with abhorrent right-wing terrorists who apparently for years have gotten away with murdering people whom they considered not worthy of living," he said, adding that it was urgent for the entire society to act now against this trend. More funds had to be invested in this fight, and in increased security, he said.
An attempt to ban the NPD – the leading political party in the extreme-right spectrum - failed in 2003 after it was revealed that government informants were involved in inciting some of the allegedly criminal activities.
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