Hundreds of wanted 'neo-Nazis' at large in Germany

Deutsche Welle, Germany/June 5, 2017

By Rebecca Staudenmaier

Over 400 right-wing extremists with warrants out for their arrest are still free, according to German government data. The Left party has said the rising trend indicates the presence of an "established Nazi underground."

The German interior ministry released the figures in response to a parliamentary inquiry. According to the data, around 600 arrest warrants for the 462 right-wing extremists have not been administered.

Out of the suspects still at large, 104 are wanted for violent crimes while 106 are wanted for politically-motivated crimes. Some 98 of the suspects have been on the run from authorities since 2015 or earlier.

The trend of wanted right-wing criminals who have evaded authorities appears to be on the rise. In 2015, the number of fugitives at large and believed to have gone underground was 372.

Read more: What draws right-wing extremists to the military?

The NSU, a secret neo-Nazi group that operated between 2000 and 2007, was responsible for the murders of 10 foreigners, two bombings and 15 bank robberies.

German officials have warned that some banned neo-Nazi groups have reactivated activities. For example, in 2000, Berlin banned "Combat 18" and its mother organization "Blood and Honour." In January, authorities said that over the past four years, "Combat 18" has managed to reactivate its network.

'Extremely worrying'

The Left party's spokeswoman on domestic policy, Ulla Jelpke, told the Funke Media Group that she was alarmed by the figures.

"I find the high number of fugitive neo-Nazis who have evaded arrest for a long period of time extremely worrying," Jelpke said.

The figures are "an indication of an established Nazi underground," she added.

The Left party MP noted that the right-wing scene has exhibited a readiness to commit crimes and acts of violence. Jelpke noted that the figures do not appear to indicate that authorities have increased efforts to track down right-wing criminals.

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