The rate of crimes committed by far-right extremists in post-war Germany registered its highest record in 2020, official statistics show.
According to the figures released on Tuesday, the far-right crimes recorded by German Police reached 23,064 cases — an increase of about six percent — last year, the highest figure since records began in 2001.
Presenting the figures at a press conference in Berlin, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer stressed that “right-wing extremism remains the biggest threat to our country” and had left a “trail of blood” through Germany in recent years.
He also cited such heinous far-right crimes as the assassination of pro-refugee politician Walter Lubcke, the head of Kassel regional government, in 2019 and a racist attack in Hanau in 2020, which led to the death of nine people.
The 2020 figure just exceeds the previous high of 23,555 recorded in 2016, while the overall number of politically motivated crimes hit a new all-time high of 44,692 in 2020.
Seehofer said the figures demonstrated a “brutalization” of German society.
Violent crimes classified as political in nature included 11 murders and 13 attempted murders, Seehofer said.
He also stressed that in a year that “the pandemic has caused further polarization” in the political discussion, the number of politically motivated crimes was a “yardstick for the mood in society.”
“They are unsettling, above all because they show that the trend of recent years is continuing,” the German minister added.
Meanwhile, according to the victims’ group VBRG, a survey conducted in eight of Germany’s 16 states found that three to four people are targeted by right-wing extremist attacks per day.
Judith Porath, the chairwoman of VBRG, also confirmed that the attacks mostly targeted refugees and black Germans, before adding that anti-Asian violence had also escalated since the pandemic began in March 2020.