A few days later, north of
In June, in
Those are a few recent cases. Many incidents go unreported. When they are serious enough to get into the media the politicians respond quickly. On the national level, whenever
Certain aspects of such events recur over and over. The police arrive late, usually after victims have been beaten though, mostly, before anyone is killed. They take down the names of one or two of the mob before letting them slip away with the others, but detain the victims for lengthy interrogation, sometimes for hours, often before providing for medical care.
Punishment of the mob members, if any, rarely exceeds a year or two on parole.
West German and foreign media invariably stress that far more attacks occur in eastern
Nonetheless, they are more frequent in the eastern provinces. The main reason is clear: in
Three main racist groups can be distinguished, although their members often switch from one to another. Organized bands of Nazi thugs, who often collect Nazi flags, relics and weapons of all kinds and were till recently conspicuous with shaven heads, heavy boots and semi-uniform clothing, hunt down, beat and occasionally kill people of color, usually small businessmen, but also tourists, the homeless, the handicapped, and young people who don’t match their standards: punks, those with dyed hair or anti-Nazi slogans on their clothing.
A second much larger group does not belong to any organization but supports them and their loud opposition to a worsening social system they can blame either on the Jews or, lacking many of these around, the more common Turks, Vietnamese, Africans or Poles.
The third group includes the clever ones, who use the first two groups and the disappointment or apathy of the general public to gain political positions. They may write the blood-curdling texts to popular music styles, calling for cutting Jewish throats and new Auschwitz killings, which are growled out at drunken concerts and distributed on free CD’s at schools around the country or at county fair type get-togethers but. More and more, they dress more normally, are more careful in what they say publicly, often addressing the social needs faced by so many people, even opposing the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, but never forgetting their stress on jobs “for Germans”. And they are the ones whose main party, the National Democratic Party or NPD, or its sister parties, are achieving new victories in provincial elections, as in
The politicians debate endlessly on whether to ban the NPD. An attempt to do so four years ago failed when the Supreme Court found that many of the nastiest statements and leaflets were written and distributed in part by spies sent into neo-Nazi groups by the German equivalent of the FBI, who had achieved leading positions. The Christian Democrats warned of another similar failure, but opposed the withdrawal of these dubious spies.
In many towns and villages, especially in eastern
The NPD is hoping to achieve the five percent level in 2009 which would give it seats in the national Bundestag. Even if the economy improves the Nazis can increase in strength. If the economy gets worse an increase is almost inevitable. Many a worried German is looking at the history books about the years preceding Hitler’s rise to power.