January 1st, 2010

Central Council calls for greater efforts to fight far-right extremism in the new year

Berlin – The Secretary General of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Stephan J. Kramer, has called for stronger efforts to fight far-right extremism in Germany in the new year. In an interview with the Deutscher Depeschendienst (ddp) news agency, he warned that the number of anti-Semitic and xenophobic attacks was rising. Kramer said it was necessary to ensure consistent prosecution of crimes by the judiciary and the police as well as to extend programmes aimed at helping those who want to break away from the neo-Nazi scene. He called for an "educational and youth work that deserves its name and is not always the first to fall victim to public spending cuts". Kramer said that education should involve the transmission not only of facts but also of firm moral and ethic values. The Secretary General called on the Government to establish a "Commissioner for Combating Hatred against Particular Groups" whose task it would be to co-ordinate corresponding programmes. He argued that the fight against extremism should not be regarded as being solely the concern of the politicians, the police, the intelligence authorities, and the judiciary. "It is an attack on our democracy and our society as a community, and only together, as citizens of this country, will we be able to fight it off," said Kramer. He also said he was sceptical about a ban on the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD). In his view, such a ban is "not very realistic" considering the "conditions specified by the Federal Constitutional Court". Kramer said: "Apart from that, an NPD ban would affect only one organisational form of far-right extremists. It would neither lead to the disappearance of informal far-right groups nor eliminate far-right ideas." (01.01.2010)