German Police Raid Online Neo-Nazi Music Sharers

Reuters/March 24, 2004

Berlin -- German police raided the homes of more than 300 people on Wednesday who they suspect of posting neo-Nazi music files on the Internet for others to download, the Federal Crime Office said in a statement.

Police said the nationwide raids followed investigations into 342 people who had posted songs by skinhead bands on the Internet. The songs contained lyrics inciting racial hatred, the crime agency said. Police said they would carry out 333 raids by the end of Wednesday at the homes of people who posted songs on a music sharing Web site.

"Inciting racial hatred is more than just a petty crime," said Federal Crime Office President Joerg Ziercke. "Skinhead music groups create an enemy image and help propagate extreme right ideas."

Inciting racial hatred, displaying Nazi emblems like the swastika and performing the stiff-armed Hitler salute used under Adolf Hitler are crimes punishable by imprisonment in Germany, the country which carried out the Holocaust.

The Federal Crime Office started clamping down on Internet trading of music inciting neo-Nazis to hate and attack Jews and foreigners in 2001.

The songs convey Nazi ideology and contain lyrics such as these from the group Tonstoerung (Sound Interruption):

"Sharpen your long knives on the pavements; delve them into Jewish bodies."

More than 100 people have been killed in racist violence in Germany since unification in 1990. Most of the attacks are random and involve skinheads picking on foreigners in the street.

Property has also been attacked. Swastikas have been daubed on Jewish gravestones, bricks thrown at Turkish kebab shops and firebombs hurled at asylum hostels. Most synagogues have 24-hour police guards.

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