By Morris Schaffer
As expected, the migrant crisis in Europe continues to worsen as the governments of Germany and Sweden move forward with plans to import at least 1.7 million Middle Eastern refugees into both countries, with Germany taking the majority.
Neo-Nazi sympathisers and other far-Right elements are infiltrating German refugee centres leaving migrants vulnerable to abuse, a German television investigation has found.
The highly disturbing findings will fuel fears that Germany is experiencing a resurgence of far-Right extremism as it struggles to cope with an influx of up to 800,000 migrants this year.
The threat came to light after several far-Right sympathisers who had posted their pictures online were found to be working as security guards and hostel managers in sites across Germany.
In one of several cases revealed in a documentary by ZDF, the German public broadcaster, a convicted member of the neo-Nazi group Sturm 18 was found to be working as a security guard at a refuge in the southern city of Heidelberg.
Video showed the man singing: “We are all Right-wing extremists, Right-wing extremists, Right-wing extremists” at an event organised by Sturm 18, which takes its name from a numeric code for Adolf Hitler’s initials.
In another case in Heidenau, Saxony, a security guard at a refugee centre allegedly posted propaganda for the far-Right NPD party, announcing that the “asylum cadgers” were arriving.
Footage obtained by the broadcaster appeared to show the same man taking part in a xenophobic anti-refugee demonstration in Heidenau, before appearing in separate footage working at the same site as a security guard two weeks later.
In a third case in the eastern town of Freital, outside Dresden, where there have been a series of far-Right demonstrations against refugees, a suspected far-Right sympathiser was suspended after he was discovered working at the town’s main migrant hostel.
A Facebook page purportedly belonging to the worker, redefined the word NAZI as “Not Adjustable to Islamisation”.
The ZDF investigation chimes with a Telegraph report from Freital last month which found the city’s temporary refugee hostel being run by men with tattoos who described themselves as “former” biker gang members.
The security workers complained openly about “lazy” refugees, saying that many showed no desire to integrate into German society and alleging that the majority had come not from war zones like Syria, but Balkan states such as Kosovo – all usual far-Right complaints.
The ZDF investigation blamed the phenomenon not on an organised infiltration by far-Right groups but lax enforcement of German laws requiring proper screening of security guards who, industry analysts said, often were drawn from far-right groups.
An investigation by the office for the protection of the constitution in the state of Brandenburg found many known extremists were working in the security sector.
“We had about 1,100 registered Right-wing extremists in Brandenburg and – obviously there is a bit of estimation in this number – about one out of ten of those were working in the security sector,” a spokesman told ZDF.
The findings will stoke fears of a far-Right resurgence driven by the refugee crisis, after up to 20,000 people took to the streets of Dresden this week in the biggest rally by the Pegida anti-immigrant movement for months.
Sigmar Gabriel, the German vice-chancellor, accused Pegida’s leaders of using the “battle rhetoric” of the early Nazi party after a speaker the rally spoke of regret that “the concentration camps are out of action”.
Mr Gabriel, who tried to engage with the movement in January, accused it of having become “a reservoir of racist xenophobia” and “street arm” of the NPD, a political party widely seen as neo-Nazi.
Between 15,000 and 20,000 people took part in the demonstration to mark the first anniversary of Pegida, or Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West, a group which appeared to have collapsed in January after its founder, Lutz Bachmann, was photographed posing as Hitler.
It was the largest crowd at a Pegida rally since 25,000 people took part in a march in January, but they were matched almost exactly by counterdemonstrations that saw between 15,000 and 19,000 people protest against Pegida.
Martin Schulz, the German president of the European Parliament warned that the far-Right, while small in terms of numbers, carried disproportionate influence because of their willingness to commit violence.
“In Germany there is definitely far-Right violence. And there is a fear rhetoric reaching far into the centre that is giving then far-Right courage,” he said.