This Right Terror Threatens Us All

We send our solidarity and compassion to all those affected by the attacks in Halle, their relatives and the Jewish community. Indeed, as these events have once again revealed, antisemitism and racism are inextricably linked in neo-Nazi ideology. Murder is inherent in the right’s agitation. What must yet happen for Nazis in this country to finally be disarmed?

The attack on the synagogue in Halle stands for centuries-old antisemitic hate in Germany, which does not wane, and threatens Jewish life wherever it reaches public visibility. The racist murder at the Doner Kebab shack is reminiscent of the NSU murders. It is directed against the all of society, which includes Jews.

Few hours after the crime, investigators routinely assume a “lone killer”. Yet the attacker refers to an international network and role models such as the assassins of Christchurch and Pittsburgh. The history of neo-Nazi terror has shown beyond doubt that there are no right-wing “lone killers”. Rather, the perpetrators identify as part of a “network of comrades” – according to the NSU’s self-description – the members of which refer to each other worldwide in their attacks, and thus, encourage each other to become active. And at the very latest, since the events of Chemnitz, this network feels itself to be on the offensive.

The perpetrator is not alone in his antisemitic delusion either. For a long time, antisemitism has been firmly anchored in German society and has various forms of expression: conspiracy theories, the unspeakable desire for a “final stroke” in the politics of memory surrounding the Holocaust, the ethnicization and outsourcing of antisemitism as a problem of “others”, the transfiguration and denial of the involvement of grandparents and great-grandparents in National Socialism. Antisemitism and racism are at work in our institutions, in our parliament, in public administration, the security apparatuses, in schools, on streets, in pubs, at the kitchen table — and still remain unchallenged far too often.

Those who speak of a single perpetrator in these cases deny antisemitism and racism as social and structural problems affecting the whole of society and prevent the critical fight against them. This stance also ignores the history of antisemitic violence, which has always been an important dimension of legal terrorism in Germany since 1945. The list of antisemitic terrorist attacks and their victims in Germany is long and largely unknown. Representatives of many more, we remind you of:

– 1980: Murder of rabbi and publisher Shlomo Lewin and his partner Frida Poeschke by Uwe Behrendt, leading activist of the neo-Nazi “Hoffmann Military Sports Group”.

– 1992: Murder of Auschwitz survivor Bianka Zmigrod by John Ausonius, known as “Laserman”. Possible anti-Semitic motives were faded out in the process and hardly discussed in public.

– July 2000: Terrorist attack in Düsseldorf-Wehrhahn: six Jewish language students, a total of 10 people, were seriously injured. A suspected neo-Nazi was acquitted in 2018, the crime is still not fully solved.

– 20 April 2000: Arson attack on the Erfurt synagogue.

– 2003: Preparation of an explosive attack on the laying of the foundation stone for a Jewish cultural center in Munich by Martin Wiese of the entity “Kameradschaft Süd”.

Early in 1997, a letter bomb imitation with an accompanying letter was found at the police headquarters in Jena. The letter stated, among other things, that in “FIGHT YEAR 97”, for the chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Ignatz Bubis, it was “ON!!!”.

In December 1998, a bomb attack – unresolved to this day – was carried out on the grave of Heinz Galinski in Berlin’s Heerstraße. According to a note of the Federal Criminal Police Office dated 25th of April 2012, “the address of Berlin’s Jewish community” in Heerstraße is listed in the address list “from the residential property Zwickau”.

The crime in Halle is an expression of the continuity of the NSU complex and the ongoing impunity of neo-Nazi violence.

This ignorance includes the fact that Federal President Walter Steinmeier publicly declares that such an act has “no longer seemed conceivable in Germany”. Such a statement mocks the justified fears and experiences of Jews who are confronted with antisemitism on a daily basis. Further, it reveals the tremendous gap between words and deeds – between abstract confessions against antisemitism and racism, and the actual perception and struggle against their everyday violence. Finally, this statement represents a misplaced anticipatory protection of security authorities, who did not deem it necessary to protect Halle’s synagogue – contrary to the demand for protection by the Jewish community.

We demand…

… a rendering visible of the continuity of right-wing terrorism since 1945 and a clear elaboration of its manifold motivations: racist, antisemitic, antiziganist etc. as well as their close kinship.

… an investigation of the networks and structures in which legal terrorism is embedded. State institutions must be taken into account.

… the disarmament of neo-Nazis. The militarization of the right-wing scene must urgently be brought to an end.

… the arrest of those almost 500 fugitive neo-Nazis in Germany, who are wanted with an arrest warrant. Are they even investigated?

… the exposure of Stephan Balliet’s networks: was he in Chemnitz, marching behind AfD functionaries Björn Höcke, Uwe Junge, Andreas Kalbitz, Jörg Urban and red light criminal Lutz Bachmann, together with Nazi terrorists Tom Woost and Christian Keilberg (“Revolution Chemitz”), as well as Stephan Ernst and Markus Hartmann, who shot the Christian Democrat Walter Lübcke?

… an independent commission of inquiry into the history of antisemitism and antisemitic violence in Germany.

… an independent review of antisemitism within the ranks of committees of inquiry into the NSU.

… committed guarding of all Jewish institutions by the security forces in consultation and cooperation with those threatened by antisemitism.

… a thinking together of and a common fight against antisemitism and racism. Those affected by either must not be played off against each other.