Merkel calls German neo-Nazi murders a national disgrace
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the murders of nine immigrants and a policewoman by a suspected neo-Nazi cell as “a national disgrace”. Her comments came after officials revealed that members of the group had been active for more than ten years and were also responsible for bank robberies and a bomb attack in Cologne. One member of the group has surrendered and two others killed themselves.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
There is no precedent in German post-war history for an underground right-wing combat group that funds itself through bank robberies and organises deadly attacks, says Spiegel International. This sort of terrorism has until now been associated only with the far left Red Army Faction (RAF).
News of the group’s activities has shocked Germany, and also raised some awkward questions, says BBC Europe correspondent Chris Morris. The fact that an extremist cell calling itself National Socialist Underground carried out at least ten murders and filmed their victims’ bodies “is bad enough”, says Morris. But now there are reports that domestic intelligence agencies probably knew about the group and did not stop it. There are also allegations that some members of the group were paid informants.
Jonathan Birdwell of Think Tank Demos, which carried out a survey of far right supporters earlier this year, says financial instability and job concerns are often what fuels their worries. “The groups capitalise on the feeling that people are subject to forces that are beyond their control - the recession here [in the UK]… or problems because of Greece,” Birdwell told Channel 4 News.
The Berliner Zeitung described the failure to detect the group as the “biggest secret service cock-up since German reunification”.