German investigators have carried out raids across the country as Berlin banned a far-right group it described as a “cult-like, deeply racist and anti-Semitic association” that sought to indoctrinate children with Nazi ideology.
Police on Wednesday stormed 26 apartments belonging to 39 members of the Artgemeinschaft network in 12 states, including Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Brandenburg.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
The association counts about 150 members and has links to several far-right groups, said the interior ministry.
It uses the cover of a “pseudo-religious Germanic belief in God to spread their worldview which violates human dignity”, said the ministry.
Using Nazi-era literature, the association sought to convert the young to adopt its race theories. It also ran an online bookstore that sought to radicalise and attract non-members.
“This is a further blow against right-wing extremism and against the intellectual agitators who still spread Nazi ideologies today,” said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.
“This far-right group tried to raise new enemies of the constitution through the disgusting indoctrination of children and youths,” she added.
Germany has banned a series of far-right groups in recent months.
Last week, it outlawed the local chapter of the US-based Hammerskins neo-Nazi group known for its white supremacist rock concerts.
There were about 38,800 people in the right-wing “extremist” spectrum in Germany in 2022, according to a report presented by the BfV federal domestic intelligence agency in June – up from 33,900 in 2021.
The number of people considered potentially violent also rose from 13,500 to 14,000.