As Neo-Nazis Seed Military Ranks, Germany Confronts ‘an Enemy Within’
Full article at:CALW, Germany — As Germany emerged from its coronavirus lockdown in May, police commandos pulled up outside a rural property owned by a sergeant major in the special forces, the country’s most highly trained and secretive military unit.
They brought a digger.
The sergeant major’s nickname was Little Sheep. He was suspected of being a neo-Nazi. Buried in the garden, the police found two kilograms of PETN plastic explosives, a detonator, a fuse, an AK-47, a silencer, two knives, a crossbow and thousands of rounds of ammunition, much of it believed to have been stolen from the German military.
They also found an SS songbook, 14 editions of a magazine for former members of the Waffen SS and a host of other Nazi memorabilia.
“He had a plan,” said Eva Högl, Germany’s parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces. “And he is not the only one.”
Germany has a problem. For years, politicians and security chiefs rejected the notion of any far-right infiltration of the security services, speaking only of “individual cases.” The idea of networks was dismissed. The superiors of those exposed as extremists were protected. Guns and ammunition disappeared from military stockpiles with no real investigation.
The government is now waking up. Cases of far-right extremists in the military and the police, some hoarding weapons and explosives, have multiplied alarmingly. The nation’s top intelligence officials and senior military commanders are moving to confront an issue that has become too dangerous to ignore.
The problem has deepened with the emergence of the Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, which legitimized a far-right ideology that used the arrival of more than a million migrants in 2015 — and more recently the coronavirus pandemic — to engender a sense of impending crisis.
Most concerning to the authorities is that the extremists appear to be concentrated in the military unit that is supposed to be the most elite and dedicated to the German state, the special forces, known by their German acronym, the KSK.