German far-right buys land for military training, money laundering and money-making
31 Jul 2020

Right-wing extremists are moving into property to set up bases for their activities and anchor themselves in local communities, German intelligence services have warned.

Neo-Nazis are seeking land and buildings in rural parts of eastern states, officials said. In Saxony the number of buildings known to be owned by far-right groups rose by five last year to 27.

Nationwide, right-wing extremists own 146 properties, according to official estimates. Analysts suspect the true figure is far higher. “It’s part of the Nazi ideology of ‘blood and land’,” Nicholas Potter, an expert on right-wing extremism at the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, said. “They’re trying to gain footholds wherever they can.”

He said that the funding was generated by a “far-right economy” based on publishing, merchandise and hosting rock concerts. “There are also the Völkische Siedler [Nationalist Settlers], an eco-fascist movement who have moved to small settlements in northern and northeastern Germany where they live in small Nazi communes,” he added.

Property prices are low in parts of eastern Germany, which suffered economic collapse after unification in 1990, and support for the far-right AfD party and other anti-migrant groups is higher. Children in East Germany were not taught to accept national responsibility for Nazi crimes, as West Germans were.

The buyers use the properties as venues for concerts and conferences with Holocaust deniers, officials said. Restaurants are run to earn or launder money and to establish neo-Nazis in the heart of communities. In some locations, paramilitary exercises are held.

“They’re targeting villages . . . trying to gain acceptance and influence,” Michael Stübgen, interior minister of the state of Brandenburg, said.

By David Crossland, The Times, 30 July 2020

Read more at The Times

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