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Far-right and racist crimes in Germany show a 59 percent increase in 2000

Hate crimes in Germany at new high

By GEIR MOULSON      
Web-posted: 6:38 a.m. Mar. 3, 2001

BERLIN -- Far-right crime in Germany last year reached the highest level since World War II, with offenses surging almost 60 percent, government statistics showed Friday, adding urgency to Germany's struggle against neo-Nazis.
    After a year in which brutal far-right attacks grabbed attention worldwide, the German government is pursuing plans to outlaw a far-right political party and even considering a ban on jackboots and other typical neo-Nazi attire.
    The leader of Germany's Jewish community said the figures should bring an end to any talk that the far-right threat has been exaggerated. He was backed by the head of the domestic intelligence agency, Heinz Fromm, who said the figures are convincing evidence that right-wing violence is on the rise.
   "I hope now for a first effective step in fighting right-wing extremism," said Paul Spiegel, the leader of Council of German Jews.
    Interior Minister Otto Schily said Germany was determined to stamp out the far right, promising to use "the required toughness and resoluteness."
    Violent crimes with a far-right, anti-Semitic or anti-foreigner motivation -- ranging from robbery to murder -- jumped by 34 percent from 1999, the Interior Ministry said, reaching the highest level since a wave of hate crimes in 1992 and 1993 following German reunification.
   A total of 998 such offenses -- including three murders -- were committed.
    Anti-Semitic crimes surged by 69 percent to 1,378, while crimes against foreigners rose 57 percent to 3,594, the ministry said.
    Total right-wing crimes -- including the illegal display of neo-Nazi symbols and distributing banned propaganda -- was at the highest level since Germany began compiling figures after World War II: 15,951 offenses, an increase of 59 percent over 1999, the ministry said. The previous record was 11,700 registered in 1997.
   

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