Incidents of far-right extremism surge in German military

Annual report shows number of cases rose to 477 last year from 363 in 2019

Eva Hoegl, German Federal Parliament's commissioner for the German military, presents her first annual report on the situation of the Bundeswehr in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Hoegl says that the number of suspected far-right incidents in the military's ranks increased to 477 last year from 363 in 2019. (Wolfgang Kumm/dpa via AP)
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A German politician has demanded action to tackle a surge in ‘far-right incidents’ in the country’s military.

The number of suspected incidents linked to far-right extremism in the German military climbed to 477 last year from 363 in 2019, according to the parliament’s commissioner for the military.

In her annual report, Eva Hoegl said the high number was a source of concern and shows that “there’s a lot to do.”

“There’s no place for far-right extremism in the army,” Ms Hoegl wrote in the report. “We need investigations, sanctions and prevention – in a consistent, complete and fast way.”

“Soldiers are not under general suspicion and the absolute majority does a responsible job every day”, she said.

Ms Hoegl demanded that more staff be hired to speed up investigations.

The rise of far-right extremism within the rank and file of the army and police is a growing concern in Germany, mirroring a growing number of anti-Semitic, anti-migrant and homophobic attacks.

In September, 29 officers from the police force in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia were suspended over their participation in private chat groups in which images of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and a prisoner in a gas chamber were shared.

Last July, an elite unit of Germany's Special Commando Forces was formally disbanded after some of its members were found to hold extremist views.

Police seized weapons, explosives and ammunition during a raid on the private property of a commando sergeant major in the eastern state of Saxony.

Investigators found 2 kilograms of plastic explosives and an AK-47, as well as an SS songbook and other Nazi memorabilia.