Police have raided buildings across Germany to search for evidence that the country’s largest neo-Nazi group is an “aggressive and combative” threat to democracy.
Senior interior ministry officials have confirmed that the sweep of 30 buildings is an investigation into whether the Aid Organisation for National Political Victims and their Relatives (HNG) should be banned.
“Today’s searches will show whether our suspicions are confirmed and the HNG is positioned against constitutional order in an aggressively violent manner,” Klaus-Dieter Fritsche , an interior minister said in Germany’s capital Berlin.
“Our findings bring us nearer to the suspicion that the HNG’s main goal is to network and strengthen the mainly fragmented neo-Nazi scene beyond trench warfare.”
The 600-strong far-right group is accused of keeping in contact with imprisoned Nazis to strengthen extremist ideology and “encourage them to commit further crimes”.
“Imprisoned comrades are not only kept within the group while in jail, but also encouraged to ‘fight on against the system’,” said Mr Fritsche.
In March 2009, the government banned a neo-Nazi organization, Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend, which sought to attract youths to an anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant ideology under the guise of activities such as summer camps and outings.
Police had uncovered swastikas, black-clad youngsters and extremist lyrics during a raid on one of the HDJ’s camping sites on the Baltic Sea coast of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state.
Germany has grappled with the proliferation of anti- immigrant and extremist groups, underscored by regional state election victories of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany.