December 13th, 2011 | Published in What's going on in Germany?!
For years, Germany has been struggling with its right extremist neo-nazi party, the so called NPD (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands). The party has, over the years been subject to numerous investigations regarding its constitutionality. In 2001, a suit for disbanding the party was filed with the Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVerfG), which ultimately had to be dismissed due to procedural errors in what is known in Germany as the “V-Mann-Affäre”.
So what is the NPD? Founded in 1964 as an answer on arising extremist views usually characterized as similar to the NSDAP in both program and language, the NPD has, after the reunification of Germany, focused its efforts on the former GDR areas. While a small party, it has achieved some successes and is struggling on and off with the hurdle of 5% of voters to gain entry into any legislative body. The NPD is generally assumed to have strong connections if not direct control over violent organizations responsible for the recent acts of terrorist activity in Germany. Is is also an openly racist organization essentially comprised of Neo-Nazis.
In the 2001-2003 legal affair, the government tried to outlaw the party in the highly regulated and extremely hard process for banning a political party, a legal possibility that has rarely been used in German history, and had so far been reserved for direct successor parties to the NSDAP and has only once been used in a controversial way with the ban of the Communist Party (KPD) in 1956. The NPD case, however, failed due to the problematic involvement of police informers in the party leadership which then lead to confusion of acts admissible as evidence. Ever since the failure of that first try, voices have been heard that want to instigate a new attempt at the banning of the party – and with good reason.
However, most recently the full involvement of police informers in the party has been coming to light and has proved shocking. There are over 130 police informers currently active in the party, which in the minds of many has raised the question: “Are there actually any Nazis left, or is it all just police informers spying on each other?” – A cynical remark, surely, but certainly an extreme problem with a new trial, if it should come to that. The hopes of the investigators are now on proving ties between the NPD and the so called “Zwickauer Zelle”, a terrorist organization responsible for a number of murders and a bombing in the time from 2000-2007. If they succeed in proving this, the police informer affair might just become a minor point.