BERLIN: Germany have suspended 29 police officers suspected of sharing far-right propaganda of Hitler and violent neo-Nazi propaganda in at least five online chat groups, adding to concerns about far-right infiltration in Germany’s police and military. Investigators searched 34 locations, including police stations and private apartments in the Ruhr industrial region, said Herbert Reul, the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state.
The material that was shared included the most foul and neo-Nazi, racist and anti-refugee agitation. The offending images included pictures of Adolf Hitler and swastikas, a fictional depiction of a refugee in the gas chamber of a concentration camp and another mocking the shooting of black-skinned people, Reul added.
The material was exchanged in at least five WhatsApp groups used entirely or largely by police officers, Reul said. One of those groups apparently was set up in 2012, and the one that contained the most images, in 2015. All 29 were suspended with immediate effect today, and disciplinary proceedings opened.
The case puts a spotlight on neo-Nazi ideology in Germany’s police forces, an issue that senior security officials had previously downplayed even as they warned of the growing threat of far-right violence in recent years.