German authorities identified at least 319 suspected cases of right-wing extremism in the armed forces, parliamentary armed forces ombudsman Eva Hogl has said.
Hogl said on Tuesday that right-wing extremism in the military remains a concern despite a decrease in cases in 2022, compared to the previous year.
“Right-wing extremism is also a problem in the German armed forces. In total, 319 cases were reported last year,” she said at a news conference in Berlin.
“While the decrease is a positive development, this is an issue which should be closely monitored.”
Last year, authorities identified 327 right-wing extremists among soldiers, police and intelligence officers.
Hogl said the military is taking new measures to address the problem, disciplinary processes will be accelerated and those who commit such offences will be quickly expelled from military service.
Hundreds of incidents
Germany’s first nationwide report into right-wing extremism in the security services was conducted in 2020 and revealed hundreds of incidents across the police and military that contravened the country’s constitution.
Often cases involved security force employees sharing symbols or pictures deemed to be anti-constitutional, such as swastikas, or expressing right-wing extremist remarks. Only in a few cases did officers concerned have contact with known rightwing extremists or organised groups, or had participated in rightwing extremist events.
The report was commissioned following several violent incidents that shocked the nation in 2019, including the fatal shooting of a pro-immigration politician by a suspected far-right extremist outside his home near Kassel, and a murderous attack targeting a synagogue and a kebab store in the city of Halle by a gunman with anti-semitic views.
Questions were asked about whether authorities did enough to stop the attackers.