At a demonstration under the motto “No to compulsory vaccination!” In January 2022, around 9,000 opponents of compulsory vaccination against the corona protection measures demonstrated in Düsseldorf.Image: Geisler-Fotopress / Christoph Hardt/Geisler-Fotopress
Right-wing violence is at the previous year’s level and racist acts of violence have fallen. A number in the annual balance sheet for politically motivated crime gives cause for concern: the violence by corona deniers. She has risen.
Politically motivated crime is at its highest level since statistics were introduced by the Federal Ministry of the Interior in 2001. A large part of this is due to the increasing willingness to use violence on the part of opponents of the Corona policy.
This was the conclusion of the annual report from 2021 by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).
On Tuesday, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and the President of the Federal Criminal Police Office, Holger Münch, presented their annual balance sheet at a press conference.
Afterwards, Robert Kusche, board member of the Association of Right-Wing Violence Counseling Centers, Pia Lamberty, social psychologist and author, and Etris Hashemi, survivor and relative of the racist attack in Hanau spoke about right-wing politically motivated acts of violence.
Victim perspectives must be included
“An intolerable situation that directly endangers democracy.” This is how Pia Lamberty describes the current situation in Germany on Tuesday in relation to politically motivated violence.
The situation has worsened. Lamberty lists various groups affected by politically motivated violence: politicians are on death lists, media workers are attacked and threatened and scientists have to think twice about going public.
All of this was mainly due to the ongoing corona pandemic and the opponents of the measures.
The violence by Corona deniers is increasing.
When questioned by watson, Lamberty says: “Overall, the issue of the increasing willingness to use violence by corona deniers was not taken seriously in the first two years.” Especially against the incidents in the digital space was often not determined. “I would wish that this milieu (the corona deniers, editor’s note) would be looked at more closely.”
The danger they pose is by no means banned, says Lamberty. “There is an urgent need for action.” Above all, however, a comprehensive understanding is required, in which the perspectives of those affected must be included.
Measures against right-wing extremism too vague
One event that symbolizes the increase in politically motivated acts of violence in Germany like no other is the Hanau attack. On February 19, 2020, nine people were murdered in a racially motivated attack in Hanau.
The Hanau attack was the third right-wing terrorist attack in Germany within nine months. Shortly before that, the assassination attempt in Halle took place on October 9, 2019, and on June 1, 2019, the Kassel district president Walter Lübcke was murdered.
Etris Hashemi is one of the survivors of the Hanau attack and is now committed to investigating and politically prosecuting the crime.
On the second anniversary of the Hanau attack, people commemorate the victims on February 19, 2022.Image: dpa / Boris Roessler
“For two and a half years we have been fighting the authorities and the judiciary.”, he says on Tuesday in Berlin. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser’s 10-point plan is therefore a “necessary and long overdue step”.
Faeser presented her plan in the fight against increasing right-wing extremism in Germany in mid-March. In doing so, she makes the fight against the law a matter for the boss. It ties in with the package of 89 measures against right-wing extremism of the former federal government.
It provides for the right-wing extremist scene to be disarmed, its finances dried up, online hatred to be combated, extremists to be thrown out of public service and prevention to be strengthened.
However, the implementation of this plan is still too vague, says Hashemi. He summarizes: The fight against right-wing extremism is not a police or legal task – it is up to each individual.
“Awareness Gap” in Politics
Robert Kusche from the Association of Counseling Centers speaks of a “blatant underreporting by the police and judiciary”. And that despite the fact that the annual report of the BKA already recorded 1042 right-wing extremist acts of violence. The authority has also stated “that the greatest extremist threat comes from (sic!) right-wing extremists”.
Robert Kusche also sees it that way. He says: Unfortunately, it took Hanau, Halle and the five dead last year to make it clear that Right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism “one of the biggest security policy challenges in this country” may be.
What Kusche, however, disturbs about the recording: the heading “cannot be assigned”.
In its statistics, the BKA records politically motivated crime broken down into the categories “right-wing”, “left-wing”, “foreign ideology”, “religious ideology” and “cannot be assigned” according to the main fields of crime. The latter section is getting bigger every year. This harbors the massive danger that the situation picture will be glossed oversays Kusche.
In fact, the statistics of the BKA in 2020 still recorded 591 “unclassified” politically motivated acts of violence. In 2021, there were 1444, more than twice as many.
Police officers face critics of the Corona measures in Hamburg in January 2022.Image: picture alliance
To this “perception gap” in the politics to conclude, “good analyzes and reliable data are now needed,” says Kusche. It is the responsibility of the State Criminal Police Offices and the BKA to offer a better classification and to break down the “cannot be assigned” category.
Kusche leaves it open how this classification should look in concrete terms.
When questioned by watson he says: You have to invest in resources to make the classification and to be able to make a more precise statement.
The way of thinking in the security authorities also has to change, says Kusche when asked by watson. Thinking only in classic extremism categories reaches its limits with the willingness to use violence of the corona deniers. The police initially dismissed this as “a perfectly normal civil protest”. It must be differentiated more precisely what is racism or anti-Semitism about these protests.
Because: “The Corona denial movement is massively anti-Semitic”says Kusche.
There are great expectations of the new federal government. Especially with a view to the Democracy Promotion Act. The law is intended to support social projects, for example in the area of preventing extremism. This will be discussed in the Bundestag on Thursday.
It is the time of crises: war, climate, Corona. Germany’s crisis managers are the cabinet and the politicians in traffic lights. And they have a fight. At least that’s what it looks like when scrolling through Twitter. There are accusations, taunts and quarrels.