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New Report from the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism Profiles Far-Right Hate and Extremist Groups in Germany, includes AfD

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) today released a report profiling more than 20 far-right extremist groups in Germany. 

The report, Far-Right Hate and Extremist Groups, Germany (also available in German), details 21 hate and extremist groups – including the rising in popularity far-right populist political party AfD (Alternative for Germany) – that GPAHE identifies as embracing beliefs and activities that demean, harass, or inspire violence against people based on their identity traits.

The majority of the groups profiled are anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, white nationalist, or a combination of those three ideologies. The six anti-LGBTQ+ groups are also anti-immigrant or anti-Muslim, showing the trend seen elsewhere around the globe of far-right groups expanding the targets of their hate and extremism efforts, and exploiting anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment to build their racist and authoritarian-leaning movements. The report also identifies groups that are neo-Nazi, anti-trans, antisemitic, anti-government, and anti-Roma, as well as those that are conspiracists. See list of groups by ideology.   

The rise of the far right in Germany, as in the U.S., has been accompanied by increased violence against targeted communities and a growth in hate-driven terrorist attacks. Hate crimes and terrorism against those most targeted by the far right, specifically Jewish people and immigrants, are on the rise, according to the report. Germany has also faced movements, like the Reich Citizens’ groups, that have plotted to overthrow democratic rule.

“It is not surprising to see a considerable far-right extremist movement including neo-Nazis, in Germany, given history and the global rise of far-right extremism. To its credit, the German government has taken action on a number of far-right groups in recent months,” said GPAHE president and co-founder Wendy Via. “One of the most concerning things about the growing far-right movement in Germany is that even as the extreme far-right political party AfD and its youth wing Junge Alternative für Deutschland are increasingly hateful in their rhetoric and platforms, they continue to grow in popularity.”

In October, AfD polled higher than each of the three parties now governing Germany even though it is overtly xenophobic, racist, and anti-Muslim. The party openly engages in conspiracy theories like the dangerous “Great Replacement” and has adopted the term remigration, which is used to connote the act of returning all people of non-European descent to their “home” countries — essentially ethnic cleansing. In December, the AfD’s Saxony state chapter was classified as a right-wing extremist group by that state’s domestic intelligence service, joining the states of Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. Its youth wing, Junge Alternative für Deutschland, is designated “right-wing” extremist and “clearly xenophobic” by the federal domestic intelligence service. AfD spreads its hateful politics through various channels including the multimedia company COMPACT-Magazin GmbH and Identitarian media outlet Ein Prozent, both also named by GPAHE as a far-right hate and extremist group. AfD is also closely connected with other extremist groups identified by GPAHE like the Institut für Staatspolitik, and PEGIDA-Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident. 

The youth wing of AfD, Junge Alternative für Deutschland, with 16 regional associations in each German state and some 2,000 members, pushes a more radical version of the same hateful ideologies as AfD and has connections with extremists in other countries, including the True Finns and UK Independence Party (UKIP). While smaller, the political party, DIE RECHTE, with neo-Nazi, white nationalist, and anti-immigrant ideology also has international connections with neo-Nazi Active Clubs and other European neo-Nazi groups. 

Germans are increasingly aware of the threat the far right poses. Seventy-nine percent of those polled in 2023 by the German Center for Integration and Migration Research, a state-backed think tank, said German democracy was in more danger now than it had been five years ago. The government seems to be increasing its efforts, particularly against far-right extremist groups with a history of violence, banning groups like the neo-Nazi Hammerskin Deutschland, Gruppe Freital, and others. 

“Even as Germany makes moves to ban far-right hate groups, AfD is increasingly popular, which is a major concern,” said Heidi Beirich, GPAHE co-founder and chief strategy officer. “This worrying trend of the mainstreaming of far-right ideologies is something common to many parts of Europe and the US. It’s critical that people, locally and globally, understand the far-right extremist landscape, how it operates, and how the dots are connected within countries and transnationally in order to counter the threats from these movements in terms of violence and anti-democratic mobilization.”

GPAHE note: Every far-right extremist group in Germany may not have surfaced in our research. GPAHE welcomes information on other groups that could meet our criteria.

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