The Central Council of Jews in Germany is alarmed by the latest findings of the annual report by the Office for the protection of the constitution (BfV), the country’s federal domestic intelligence agency.
“The latest report by the BfV shows to a frightening degree that the threat to Jewish life in Germany has continued to grow and that the state of alarm that [Interior] Minister [Horst ] Seehofer referred to has already been felt by Jews for some time,” emphasized Central Council President Dr. Josef Schuster.
“It is up to law enforcement agencies and the judiciary” Schuster continued, “to take action against antisemitism and extremism,” Schuster added, emphasising the need to continue monitoring far right movements in Germany closely.
“The central threat to our democracy comes from right-wing extremism. Nevertheless, all forms of extremism, including Islamism, must be monitored,” he continued.
The already testy mood in the upcoming German federal elections to be held in September, which is also being fueled by some media, but especially by the far right Alternative for Germany Party (AfD), is of additional concern to the Jewish community, the Central Council president clarified. “The democratic parties and the media bear responsibility for ensuring that respect and decency are not lost in the election campaign, but that a political culture worthy of the name is preserved.”
According to the report, the number of people with right-wing extremist attitudes rose again in Germany in 2020. The report states that the number of right-wing extremist-motivated crimes in Germany rose by 5.1%, while the number of right-wing extremist-motivated violent incidents increased by 10.6%.
Moreover, the potential number of people in the right-wing extremist spectrum grew by 3.8 percent to an estimated 33,300 people. The BfV estimates just under 40% of them as “violent, willing to use violence, supporting violence or advocating violence.”
Right-wing extremists and meeting places of the right-wing scene have also been the target of attacks several times in recent months, according to information from security circles.
Among the right-wing extremists being observed by the BfV are also 1,000 so-called Reichsbürger (citizens of the Reich). These are people who do not recognize the Federal Republic of Germany and its democratic structures, and who are often in conflict with the authorities as a result.
The BfV also announced that it was monitoring individuals from the Querdenker (“lateral thinker”) movement, which hold conspiratorial beliefs and were prominent in anti-lockdown demonstrations. The agency has set up the category “Delegitimization of the state relevant to constitutional protection” specifically for this purpose.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany is the country’s EJC affiliate.