Germany records new spike in far-right crime in 2020

The number of crimes committed by right-wing extremists in Germany jumped to its highest level for at least four years in 2020, according to provisional police figures released on Thursday.

Germany records new spike in far-right crime in 2020
A demonstrator in Berlin holds a sign that says 'stop right wing terror' after the Hanau shootings last year. Photo: DPA

Police recorded 23,080 crimes of a far-right nature last year – around 700 more than the previous year — the figures published by left-wing lawmaker Petra Pau show.

The number is already the highest since 2016, and could yet rise to the highest level since records began in 2001 by the time the final figures are released later this year.

Pau, a vice-president of the German Bundestag whose Left party regularly requests the information from the Interior Ministry, said she was “not surprised” by the latest figures.

“The acceptance of violence as a replacement for politics is rising,” she told Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.

She added that the coronavirus crisis had acted as a “booster” for far-right crime in the same way that the refugee crisis had in 2015 and 2016.

German police have recorded “politically motivated crimes” since 2001. Those categorised as right-wing extremist range from giving a forbidden Nazi salute to murderous terror attacks.

The provisional figures for 2020 include 1,054 violent crimes, which led to at least 307 injuries.

The final figures are also expected to include the nine people who were killed in a racist terror attack in Hanau a year ago, the Tagesspiegel reported.

The final total, to be released in the coming months, is on course to exceed the all-time high of 23,555 recorded at the height of the refugee crisis in 2016.

The latest figures come amid growing concerns in Germany over the rise of violent right-wing extremism.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has declared far-right extremism the “biggest security threat” facing Europe's largest economy.

Last week, German neo-Nazi Stephan Ernst was sentenced to life in prison for murdering pro-migration politician Walter Lübcke.

In October 2019, just months after Lübcke's death, Germany was rocked by a shooting at a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle that left two people dead.

Member comments

  1. There appears to be a resurgence of the far-right. Starting in America and now here in there EU + UK. Trumps ex-advisor the ultra-right and conspirator S.Bannon has been pardoned and is free to start “Advising” far right countries Poland and Hungary. Also the Germany AfD was “advised” by Bannon. Bannon has a far.right organisation in Italy.

  2. When I arrived at Berlin airport with my family for a tourist trip, the authorithy in charge to check passports and allow entrance almost killed me with his eyes full of hatred. Take care of who is in duty at airports on this job.

  3. I’ve been living here since 1989 & things have unfortunately changed for us non-German’s living here. I am an American from New York City. I speak English, German, Spanish and some Russian. Once, while sitting in my Mercedes, a German man approached my car and told me to go back to Africa (I am dark skinned). On another occasion, while talking to my brother in Puerto Rico while walking, another man told me in my face to stop talking Mexican.

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Germany shocked by teen murders

A 20-year-old man has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of murdering a 14-year-old girl, investigators said Friday, the day after a conviction in another high-profile teen murder.

Germany shocked by teen murders

The 20-year-old was known to the victim, who went missing on Wednesday in Bad Emstal, north of Frankfurt, police and prosecutors said.

Police found a body in the forest near Bad Emstal on Thursday and the suspect, a German citizen, was arrested on Thursday evening.

Police did not provide a possible motive, and the cause of death is still unknown.

In the second case, a 30-year-old man named as Jan Heiko P. was sentenced to life in jail on Thursday for murdering a 14-year-old girl known as Ayleen.

Ayleen went missing in July 2022 from Gottenheim in southern Germany and was found dead a week later in a lake 300 kilometres away in the central state of Hesse.

Ayleen and the man had met via a messaging app in April and had exchanged thousands of messages.

According to the indictment, Jan Heiko P. drove Ayleen in his car from Gottenheim to a wooded area in Hesse where he killed her before dumping her body in the lake.

Presiding judge Regine Enders-Kunze said he had killed the teenager because she refused to have sex with him.

“Because Ayleen did not want this, she had to die,” the judge said.

“You acted diabolically, you were the devil,” she said.

He was found guilty of murder, attempted rape, driving without a licence and procuring child pornography.

According to the judge, Jan Heiko P. had a history of wanting to have sex with young girls and had tried to rape an 11-year-old when he was 14.