Praise for Hitler: Secret Files Build Case for Banning Far-Right Party
The question of whether to try to ban the far-right NPD party is one of the most controversial issues in German politics. Now the authorities have compiled a dossier of over a thousand pages in an attempt to prove that the NPD is anti-democratic. The file, which SPIEGEL has seen, provides a shocking expos√© of an anti-Semitic and racist¬†party whose members glorify the Nazis.
The stack of paper is thicker than a brick and heavier than the Berlin phone book. It contains 3,051 exhibits and 1,147 pages of classified information.
These pages could soon form the basis for a decision to make a new attempt to ban Germany‚Äôs far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). Only a little over a week ago, on Aug. 28, German President Joachim Gauck urged such bold action against neo-Nazis during his speech to mark the 20th anniversary of racist riots in the northeastern city of Rostock. Gauck spoke of a state that ‚Äúis able to defend itself.‚ÄĚ
Now, this dossier, which has been in its final version since late last week, is supposed to be the weapon in that fight. It is the weapon of a democracy that defends itself against its enemies ‚ÄĒ a democracy that is vigilant and alert, not frail and weak.
Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer, who heads the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), wants to deploy this weapon at all costs. He is determined to show decisiveness in the fight against right-wing extremism, and thus add momentum to his campaign ahead of the Bavarian state election in the fall of 2013 ‚ÄĒ ‚Äúif necessary, single-handedly,‚ÄĚ as he says. By contrast, his fellow party member, Hans-Peter Friedrich, who bears responsibility for the initiative as German interior minister, is afraid that the bid to ban the NPD will be rejected by the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, as happened with a previous attempt to ban the party in 2003. Typically, German Chancellor Angela Merkel remains noncommittal. She is merely observing.
In the 1,147-page dossier, which SPIEGEL has analyzed, the interior ministries of the German states and officials from Germany‚Äôs domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, have compiled a catalogue of speeches, acts of violence and public appeals that could prove that the far-right NPD not only disdains the German state, but is also aggressively combating it.
This collection is currently the most explosive dossier in German domestic politics. It forms the basis for one of the major domestic policy debates of this fall ‚ÄĒ and it promises to be a major issue during 2013 when both national and a number of state elections will be held.