Neo-Nazi hotline created in Germany

The Telegraph, UK/May 19, 2008

Germany has created a neo-Nazi hotline and website for parents worried that their children are falling in with far-Right extremists.

Counselling Against Far-Right Extremism will also provide counselling to youths who would like to get out of the neo-Nazi milieu or leave far-Right groups - known as "comradeships".

The project, which is also aimed at friends and relatives of neo-Nazis, is part of a campaign to curb a rising wave of neo-Nazism in Germany and an increase in hate and race crime.

The portal and the hotline are offering counselling to parents and teachers on what to do if they notice that their children are wearing bomber-jackets, draw swastikas on the walls, shave their head or give the Hitler salute.

"There are concerned mothers, teachers and employers who notice that something is wrong but are not sure how to act. We want to help those who want to do something against far-Right extremism," Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen, one of the co-ordinators of the project, said.

In the first three months of this year, 1,311 crimes were committed by neo-Nazis, with 191 people were seriously injured. In the same period last year, 853 comparable crimes were committed, with 160 people injured.

Politicians however warn that the real numbers could be considerably higher, as many violent offences committed by neo-Nazis are not being registered as such by the police.

Petra Pau, an MP for the Social Democrats and a deputy president of the German parliament, said: "On average, there is one indictable offence happening every hour and two-and-half violent offences taking place daily. But this is only according to the official statistics. I suspect the real numbers are considerably higher."

Michael Flood, a lawyer from Berlin contacted the service after his 13-year-old son held a lecture on Adolf Hitler.

Mr Flood said: "We didn't know how to deal with the problem. There were enough things on offer for parents whose children have problems with drugs and alcohol, but there was nothing for neo-Nazis until now.

"The online portal gives family members the chance to come out of their isolation and see that there are other families out there with the same problems."

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