Why Germany Isn’t Rooting Out its Neo-Nazis

To put it bluntly, this is the result of decades and generations of Communist rule over East Germany. This was no accident. The Soviet Union had preserved, provided a safe haven for and has used Third Reich era Germans to further their own goals of combating the West. East Germans influenced by a society that never transitioned under Soviet conditions were also used against the US in the Vietnam war as well, for example. Purposefully or not, as time has since passed on, this has paved the way for such groups as the Neo Nazis to be born.

This is not to say that all of East Germany is in sync with what is portrayed in this article. However, a large portion of influence still remains.

The unification might’ve taken place, but there is a hugely stark contrast in the cultural mindset. For example, as in the West, there are many churches in the former Soviet east. Where the difference remains is that these churches in the East remain mostly empty on Sundays.  Another difference is that through a breakdown of the education system under Soviet influence generations ago, the East is now playing catch-up, resulting in less high paying jobs and skilled professions.

West Germany in general has been more prosperous due to the Western powers rebuilding through such efforts as the Marshall Plan, for example. Whereas the Soviets at the time made no effort to revitalize before and while leaving occupied territories .

There’s a Jewish restaurant called Schalom in Chemnitz, in the eastern German state of Saxony.

Uwe Dziuballa, the man who runs it, has had hundreds of abusive calls since he opened in 2000. “They say things like ‘you Jew pig,'”, he told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “Around April 20th (Adolf Hitler’s birthday) we get people calling saying they want to reserve 88 places (a Nazi symbol for “Heil Hitler”).

Swastikas are regularly daubed at the entrance to the restaurant or carved into doors in the toilet. Once, a severed pig’s head with the word “Jude” written on it was left in front. People urinate in the letter box. The outside lamps are frequently smashed.

Dziuballa has stopped reporting incidents to the police because it’s not worth the trouble. They didn’t even bother to investigate the pig’s head, even though it offered a pretty good clue in the form of a ready-made handwriting sample, and the number of people with access to a pig and the equipment to decapitate it is presumably limited.

“If nothing happens when you report things you think should be probed, you no longer go there with every little thing,” says Dziuballa, who is moving his establishment to smaller premises in the city. “I can’t say I’m satisfied with the lack of results.”

Dziuballa has sometimes thought about giving up, but then he rallies himself. “I’m not going to let arseholes drive me out.”

The worst aspect about Dziuballa’s story is that one can’t help thinking: What did he expect? Surely, opening a kosher restaurant in eastern Germany is asking for trouble. The police even told him as much.

In the more depopulated rural areas such as in the northeast of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany has given up the fight altogether.

The National Democratic Party (NPD), which glorifies the Third Reich, is represented in village and town councils, neo-Nazis man the voluntary fire departments, organize sports festivals and summer fetes and run youth clubs — because too few others bother anymore.

They’re even trying to influence the running of kindergartens — a further dampener to hopes that the wave of extremism that engulfed the east in the 1990s might have just been a temporary phenomenon caused by the economic upheaval that followed unification.

Police Blindness

The case showed how blind Germany’s prodigious security apparatus had been to the threat posed by a new generation of people who had radicalized themselves by playing with guns, listening to old Nazis wallow in past glories and generally whipping themselves up into a frenzy of hatred of minorities.

Even if a number of communities have taken decisive action against neo-Nazis, in far too many places, a culture of tolerating right-wing extremism, simply looking away or playing down the threat persists among the authorities. Investigators probing the string of murders against foreigners perpetrated by the NSU neglected to pursue the possibility of a far-right motive behind the killings, instead suspecting the nine immigrant victims — a flower seller, a tailor, two grocers, a kebab shop owner, a man who was helping out in a kebab shop, a keycutter, a kiosk owner, and an Internet café manager — of having had gambling debts or links with organized crime.

Racist attitudes, they say, are widespread among ordinary people, possibly because the communist-era education system didn’t instil a sense of collective responsibility for the crimes of the Third Reich.

Analysts such as Professor Hajo Funke of Berlin’s Free University say security services aren’t being reformed rigorously enough and that the file shredding at the domestic intelligence agency reveals a culture of secrecy and self-preservation that continues to undermine its credibility — and will therefore make a bid to outlaw the NPD even more unlikely.

Full article: Why Germany Isn’t Rooting Out its Neo-Nazis (Spiegel Online)

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