Authorities banned a neo-Nazi group that saw itself as “Adolf Hitler’s task force” and had links to the murder of a German politician. Police also conducted raids against the group in six states.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer banned on Thursday a right-wing extremist group that referred to itself as “Adolf Hitler’s task force.”
“Since the early hours of the morning, police measures have been underway in six federal states. #Right-wing extremism and #anti-Semitism have no place in our society,” the ministry wrote in a tweet.
The neo-Nazi group, Combat 18, went against Germany’s constitutional order and was similar in nature to National Socialism, stated the order banning the group, reported German newsmagazine Der Spiegel.
The ban came as 210 officers on Thursday morning searched through apartments in the German states of Hesse, Thuringia and North Rhine-Westphalia as well as in three other states.
“Mobile phones, computers and right-wing extremist symbols were confiscated,” a spokesman for the Rhineland-Palatinate Interior Ministry said.
Calls to ban the group had been growing since the murder of German politician Walter Lübcke near Kassel in June 2019. His suspected murderer is thought to have had contact with members of Combat 18. Europol, the EU-wide police agency, also warned that Combat 18 posed a threat throughout Europe.
Under the ban, the group will not be able to meet and it will be illegal to write or use the group’s logo.
What is Combat 18?
Combat 18 is a militant neo-nazi organization formed in Britain in 1992. The number 18 in the name corresponds with the first and eighth letters in the alphabet —A and H— the first letters of Adolf Hitler’s first and last names.
The group was classified as a right-wing extremist group in Germany at the start of the 2000s and there are thought to be around 20 members in the German organization. The group’s motto is “whatever it takes.”
Leaders of the German faction are reported to be Stanley Röske, 43, from near Kassel, and Robin Schmiemann, 35, from Dortmund. Schmiemann spent time in prison for shooting a Tunisian during a supermarket raid.