Thematic Focus: All the Right Things

Police on Their Way to the Right?
by Dirk Burczyk

The issue of police and right-wing extremism is en vogue in the media. This article demonstrates the connections between three topics: the (lacking) investigative attention paid to right-wing motives; the police approach in dealing with far-right offenders; and the existence of far-right networks and racist attitudes within the police. In the name of combatting right-wing extremism, security authorities are endowed with expanding powers that are insufficiently applied for this purpose but allow for the criminalization of other phenomena labeled as extremism. This gap between institutional expansion and reluctancy towards substantial change explains right-wing attitudes and networks that reach into security authorities, and the exploration and addressing of which has not been politically implementable so far.

Day X for Civil War. Investigating the “Nordkreuz” Network
by Sebastian Wehrhahn and Martina Renner

In the summer of 2017, a network of (in part former) soldiers and police officers is made public in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania whose members are suspected of planning to kidnap and kill leftists. Among other things, they allegedly prepared for civil war in chat groups with names like “Nordkreuz”. More than three years later, it must be assumed that large parts of this network are still undetected and remain potentially dangerous. The article analyzes the inadequate investigation and the lacking political will that are responsible.

No Nazis – in the Civil Service
by Sarah Schulz

After numerous cases of right-wing activities in the security agencies were made public, more and more federal states are responding by expanding the vetting of applicants and reintroducing standard queries to the domestic security service. However, a reissue of the government decree on radicals (“Radikalenbeschluss”) would not be promising.

Block, Defer, Ignore. Disciplinary Action on Far-Right Police Officers
by Laura Wisser

One police scandal is followed by the next in Germany. Most of the time, police officers have little to worry about, even though the applicable disciplinary laws provide for countermeasures. The fact that there are hardly any consequences in most cases is not so much an issue of lacking legal possibilities, but rather of structural prevalent ‘esprit de corps’ and self-reinforcing tendencies.

Belated Ban
by Hendrik Puls

For decades, the neo-Nazi network surrounding “Blood &Honour” and “Combat 18” has been playing an important part in international and German right-wing terrorism. After denying the existence of “Combat 18 Deutschland” for more than 20 years, and an extraordinarily restrained approach by the domestic intelligence service, the Interior Ministry banned the organization in January 2020. The ban comes belated, and only covers a fraction of the militant network still in operation.

Right-Wing Attacks in Berlin-Neukölln
An interview with Franziska Nedelmann and Lukas Theune (by Benjamin Derin and Friederike Wegner)

For years, a series of right-wing attacks has been ripping through Berlin’s Neukölln district. Authorities are slow to investigate. Franziska Nedelmann is a lawyer representing one victim of the attacks. Lukas Theune is a lawyer representing the family of BurakBektaş, whose murder in 2012 has not been resolved to this day.

Anti-Terrorism at a Snail’s Pace
by Matthias Monroy

Only after the attack in Christchurch, the European Commission and the Council began to take seriously the threat of violent far-right extremism. But no progress has been made in the phenomenon’s cross-border combatting. Some member states are slowing down the passing of political resolutions and classify terrorist attacks as mere “extremism”.

Non-Thematic Contributions

A Number For Everybody
by Dirk Burczyk

The federal government has proposed a bill that would utilize the tax identification number, which has been individually assigned since 2008, as a universal identification number for the whole population. This unique identification mark is supposed to accelerate the digitalization of public administration while preventing mistakes and erroneous multiple entries. The new law would effectively create a personal license number, allowing for the personalized aggregation of data collected by different agencies. Thereby, old blueprints from the old federal republic would finally be implemented – while drawing on the traditions of the GDR.

Chronologies Instead of Critical Reappraisal
by Malte Meier

When dealing with issues of domestic security, police unions are an important voice ever-present in public. In recent years, several works have been published depicting the history of these unions in the German federal republic. However, the studies largely confine themselves to simple chronologies of the developments, thereby missing the opportunity to discuss and examine union history in the context of societal change.

Fatal Gunshots by the Police in 2019
by Otto Diederichs

According to official data published by the Interior Minsters’ Conference, German police purposefully fired at individuals 62 times and at objects in 42 cases. Police shootings injured 30 people and killed 15. Press evaluation by Cilip retraced 13 of those cases.

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