German Jewish Leader Says Right-wing Violence Recalls 1930s
October 25, 2006
The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany has said that the country was seeing a groundswell of right-wing violence which reminded her of the Nazi era.
“Anti-Semitic and far-right attacks have become so blatant and [aggressive] that it brings to mind the years after 1933” when Adolf Hitler come to power, Charlotte Knobloch told a conference on right-wing extremism in Berlin on Tuesday.
Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor, said authorities appeared “at a loss” to cope with the increasing popularity of neo-Nazi parties that have gained a following among the poor in the former Communist east of the country.
She urged police and the courts to take a “hard line” towards extremists, whose message, she said, has “become firmly entrenched in certain spheres of our society.”
Funny thing is, police have been taking a “hard line” — against militant antifa — and have been doing so for 20 years or more. Further, the mainstream parties are only “at a loss” because they’ve already abandoned the white working- and under- class to the fascists. And there is no more a ‘legal’ solution to the ‘crime’ of fascism now than there was in the 1930s: an historical epoch and experience of defeat which it would be worth examining in more detail.
Gahleitner has a theory about why far-right crimes and support for neo-Nazism are on the rise.
“There are sometimes opportunities offered only by these right-wing parties,” he said. “There are no other possibilities and other initiatives for the young generation.”
Uwe-Karsten Heye agrees that the mainstream parties need to involve younger people more.
“We need a long-term strategy to win back these regions that we’ve lost,” he said. “It’s not that we can’t muster up any support there because we’re idiots. It’s because we’re not represented well enough in these areas.”
“We as democrats have no presence there,” he added.
The mainstream parties abandon youth; the youth abandon mainstream parties.
For Godwin’s sake, it ain’t rocket science.
The international media pays little attention to the increasingly repressive and violent developments in “unified” Germany. But despite the silence, which is only occasionally broken by reports of seemingly single and isolated cases of neo-fascist rioting in Magdeburg in May and anti-Semitic attacks like the one on the memorial of the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald in July, German society is just shaping its new ugly face.
Although the government tries to give the opposite impression, neo-fascist terror against minorities and the racist and authoritarian transformation of the German State have increased over the last two years, following the [neo-]Nazi assault on the refugee home in Rostock-Lichtenhagen in August 1992 and the abolition of asylum for refugees on July 1, 1993. Police brutality against foreigners has dramatically increased; conditions for refugees worsened…
The process of social transformation within the capitalist German state is far from being at an end. Although it is hard to grasp all of the facets of the rapid political, material and conceptual changes which followed the breakdown of “actually-existing socialism”, the overall direction is evident: the restructuring of a unified Germany into an aggressively nationalistic, racist and imperialist state, forged through the scapegoating of foreigners and refugees. This finds reflection in both the general passivity towards or even support of fascist violence and the practical abolition of asylum. The complementary foundation of its authoritarian and politically repressive consolidation lies in the fact that almost no visible or noticeable opposition exists to radically confront and challenge what has become reality in Germany…
— Lars Rensmann, Confronting the New Germany: Neo-Nazi Violence and The State of Racism, Barricade Publishing, Melbourne, 1995
So far this year, over 2000 attacks on foreigners have been carried out by fascists and neo-Nazis in Germany, resulting in 15 deaths and countless injuries. Most recently, on November 20, a Berlin squatter was killed when a group of autonomists came upon a group of [neo-]Nazi youths who were beating a foreigner in a subway station. In the ensuing clash, three of the autonomists were stabbed, and one of them, Silvio Meier, a 27 year-old squatter, was killed. In the nights following Silvio’s death, there were constant clashes between autonomists and neo-Nazis. Autonomists also injured at least 37 police in a militant march through Berlin expressing their outrage at Silvio’s death. Later in the week, autonomists and Turkish youths fought against police in riots in the neighbourhood of Kreuzberg.
The situation in Germany became further escalated on Sunday, November 22, when [boneheads] firebombed the house of a Turkish family, killing two Turkish women and [an] 11 year-old Turkish girl. Enraged at this attack, Turkish youths vowed: “Ten Germans For Every Turk!” Nine other persons were wounded in this attack.
“Attack the Nazis Wherever They Are!”
The fact that neo-Nazi gangs have been on an organized offensive does not, however, mean that there has been no resistance. Church groups, citizens, and Greens have organized vigils in front of refugee centres – although it usually takes just a few [boneheads] with steel-toed boots and rocks and bottles to chase these folks away. In contrast to this approach, autonomist ANTIFA (anti-fascist action) groups expanded their approach of street-level confrontation with neo-Nazis.
One week after the outbreak of violence in Rostock, a large anti-fascist demonstration was held in that city. Whereas only a handful of police were deployed to deal with the neo-Nazis during their week of attacks, upon the arrival of the ANTIFA demonstrators, at least 2000 police were bussed into Rostock in order to “keep the peace”. In other cities as well, ANTIFA marches were held, often resulting in confrontations with police and gangs of neo-Nazis.
On November 8, German political and business leaders organized a massive “anti-racist” march in Berlin, mainly to improve Germany’s tarnished image in the international market. When Chancellor Kohl – who has threatened to declare a state of emergency in Germany so as to more easily deport refugees – tried to march at the head of this march, he was attacked with stones and rotting fruit and security forces had to rush him away. German president Weizaecker was similarly prevented from addressing the anti-racist rally when autonomists wrecked the sound system and bombarded him with eggs. Cowering behind a phalanx of riot police on live television, Germany’s political elite were effectively shown to be the hypocrites they really are…
The Potential Of The Far-Right
The German government has only minimally reacted to the recent upsurge in fascist violence. In the law courts, young [neo-]Nazis are usually given lenient sentences, since the judges usually rule that the attacks were not political, but were rather the result of the youths’ “poor, impoverished upbringing” or “too much alchohol”; the German courts have refused to criminalize the far-right. Many left-wing ANTIFA groups, however, have been criminalized for some time. The entire Autonome ANTIFA scene in the city of Gottingen has been criminalized under German law paragraph 129a. In fact, there have been 300 cases brought against the radical-left under paragraph 129a, while only 6 proceedings have been brought against fascists…
— Arm The Spirit, #14/15 (August-December 1992)