Far-Right Movement Hate Crimes Against German Politicians at All-Time High

From threatening emails to animal feces in mailboxes and vandalized offices, German politicians reported more crimes against them in 2016 than ever before, against a backdrop of rising right-wing extremist violence.
Quelle: dpa
An arson attack on a refugee home in Bautzen in February 2016.
(Source: dpa)

In 2016, more politicians across Germany were victims of criminal harassment from far-right groups than ever before, according to a special report by the German TV news service Taggeschau.

There were 142 far-right attacks on politicians and their institutions last year, according to a response from the federal government requested by the Left Party. According to the statistics, politicians and their institutions reported nearly 700 attacks between 2010 and 2016. Around 200, or a third of them, took place between November 2015 and the end of 2016.

Some crimes also go unreported, which means the numbers could be higher.

Such numbers echo an underlying trend of increasing aggression in the German right-wing movement. The number of right-wing extremists willing to resort to violence increased in 2016, according to security experts who spoke to Handelsblatt's sister publication Taggespiegel.

The Left party has reported attacks on party offices in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, as well as the loss of a parliamentarian's office in Chemnitz when the building owner grew tired of the vandalism, it told Taggeschau.

Traditionally, the Left and Green parties have been affected the most by hate crimes, but there has also been a sharp rise in reports from members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union, presumably over its open-door refugee policy. The Left party reported 59 attacks, the CDU reported 35.

Statistics were only available for parties currently represented in the Bundestag's lower house of parliament. This means the controversial anti-immigrant party Alternative for Germany was not included.

According to Germany's Federal Criminal Police, crimes against refugees also remain high. The agency recorded 970 attacks on asylum centers and 2,396 crimes against refugees outside of residences in 2016.

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