Germany bans ‘cult-like, deeply racist’ far-right group, carries out raids

Police raid homes of the Artgemeinschaft network members who sought to indoctrinate children with Nazi ideology.

Police patrol in Alsdorf, near Aachen, western Germany
Police patrol in Alsdorf, near Aachen, western Germany [File: Hermann J Knippertz/AP Photo]

German investigators have carried out raids across the country as Berlin banned a far-right group it described as a “cult-like, deeply racist and anti-Semitic association” that sought to indoctrinate children with Nazi ideology.

Police on Wednesday stormed 26 apartments belonging to 39 members of the Artgemeinschaft network in 12 states, including Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Brandenburg.

The association counts about 150 members and has links to several far-right groups, said the interior ministry.

It uses the cover of a “pseudo-religious Germanic belief in God to spread their worldview which violates human dignity”, said the ministry.

Using Nazi-era literature, the association sought to convert the young to adopt its race theories. It also ran an online bookstore that sought to radicalise and attract non-members.

“This is a further blow against right-wing extremism and against the intellectual agitators who still spread Nazi ideologies today,” said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.

“This far-right group tried to raise new enemies of the constitution through the disgusting indoctrination of children and youths,” she added.

‘Extremist’ spectrum

Germany has banned a series of far-right groups in recent months.

Last week, it outlawed the local chapter of the US-based Hammerskins neo-Nazi group known for its white supremacist rock concerts.

There were about 38,800 people in the right-wing “extremist” spectrum in Germany in 2022, according to a report presented by the BfV federal domestic intelligence agency in June – up from 33,900 in 2021.

The number of people considered potentially violent also rose from 13,500 to 14,000.

Source: AFP