Political extremism in Germany is a growing threat and comes mainly from the right-wing. Supporters are increasingly influenced by fake news and are increasingly willing to resort to violence, a new report from Germany’s domestic intelligence service says.
Last year there were 33,476 politically motivated crimes in the country, a slight increase from 2020 when 32,924 were registered. But the number of politically driven violent crimes has increased by 10 percent. “Far-right extremism remains the greatest extremist threat to our democracy,” Interior Secretary Nancy Faeser said on Tuesday, announcing the report. “We see a high degree of susceptibility to violence here.”
Political extremism is sensitive in Germany given the country’s Nazi past. Many Germans feel a special responsibility to eradicate racism and intolerance. Domestic intelligence chief Thomas Haldenwang said disinformation plays a key role in fueling all extremist activity.
The number of far-right activists grew slightly to 33,900, while the number of people belonging to the Reichsbürger scene – a group fighting the legitimacy of the Federal Republic and recognizing only the German Reich that existed between 1871 and 1945 – grew to 21,000. Their number increased mainly due to dissatisfaction with corona measures such as the mandatory wearing of mouth caps, the report says.
The extreme left also experienced slight growth. That group consists of about 34,700 people. Islamic extremist activities have declined slightly.