German city of Dresden declares official ‘Nazi emergency’

The eastern German city of Dresden has declared it is facing an official ‘Nazi emergency’, amid rising violence and far-right sentiment.

German city of Dresden declares official ‘Nazi emergency’
Image: Hendrik Schmidt/DPA

The Dresden City Council on Wednesday evening voted in favour of the motion, saying that the city needed more support from state and federal sources to take on far-right sentiment. 

Dresden is the headquarters of Pegida, a far-right organisation which believes it is fighting against the Islamification of Germany and the west. Since being founded in 2014, Pegida chapters have sprung up across the globe. 

Max Aschenbach, a Dresden councillor and member of satirical party Die Partei (The Party), said that it was imperative that local and federal authorities recognised the scale of the problem. 

“We have a Nazi problem in Dresden,” Aschenbach said. 

The motion – which passed by a 39-29 majority – was supported by Die Linke, the Greens, the Social Democrats and the Free Democrats. The Christian Democrats and the Alternative for Germany were opposed. 

The CDU criticised the motion for being “purely symbolic”, while members of the Free Voters – an unaffiliated organisation – was also critical, saying that the use of the word ‘emergency’ had parallels with the use of emergency powers to strip back basic democratic rights. 

Extremist and radical violence has increased in Dresden in recent years, with 60 far-right motivated attacks taking place in 2018, up from 52 the previous year. 

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New army scandal: Germany vows to punish soldiers caught singing anti-Semitic songs

Germany's Defence Minister on Tuesday vowed to severely punish soldiers stationed in Lithuania who were accused of singing racist and anti-Semitic songs, if the allegations turned out to be true.

New army scandal: Germany vows to punish soldiers caught singing anti-Semitic songs
German soldiers training in Saxony-Anhalt in May. credit: dpa-Zentralbild | Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert

“Whatever happened is in no way acceptable,” said Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Those implicated would be “vigorously prosecuted and punished”, she added.

The Spiegel Online news site had on Monday reported that German soldiers in Lithuania sang racist and anti-Semitic songs during a party at a hotel in April.

One had also sought to sexually assault another soldier while he was asleep, a scene which was caught on film, said Spiegel.

According to Spiegel Online, the scenes took place at a party at which soldiers consumed large quantities of alcohol. They are also alleged to have arranged a “birthday table” for Adolf Hitler on April 20th and to have sung songs for him.

It is unclear to what extent more senior ranked soldiers were aware of the incidents.

Three soldiers have been removed from the contingent stationed in the Baltic country and an investigation is ongoing to identify other suspects, said the report.

The German armed forces have been repeatedly rocked by allegations of right-wing extremism within their ranks.

Kramp-Karrenbauer last year ordered the partial dissolution of the KSK commando force after revelations that some of its members harboured neo-Nazi sympathies.

SEE ALSO: Germany to compensate gay soldiers who faced discrimination