Germany’s Extremism ProblemOfficials Zero In on Neo-Nazi Terror Cell

In the wake of far-right unrest in the eastern German city of Chemnitz, investigators have uncovered a suspected neo-Nazi terror cell thought to have been planning a major attack. The arrests show how self-confident extremists have become. By DER SPIEGEL Staff

Arrests of suspected far-right terror cell members.

REUTERS

Arrests of suspected far-right terror cell members.

On October 3, the German national holiday commemorating reunification, it is drizzling in Chemnitz, the wind whistling through the trees. The only thing standing in the music pavilion on Schlossteichinsel, an island in a city park, are a few bottles. The crumbling walls are covered in graffiti, including an Antifa symbol above the words, “the volk must go.”

In nicer weather, young, left-wing Chemnitz residents and refugees meet here. On the national holiday, however, a different group is on hand. A couple of men are hanging out at the dock, steering a remote-control boat through the water. Others in black jackets are drinking beer.

“Not all foreigners should be allowed to come,” says a young man. An older man says he doesn’t believe what has been reported about the island in the press. “All that is controlled from above.”

The Schlossteichinsel is one of the places that is keeping Chemnitz at the center of the German discussion about right-wing extremism. On September 14, right-wing extremists describing themselves as a “home guard” attacked visitors to the island. Apparently, they were practicing for a bigger attack scheduled to take place on October 3.

That assault never happened. Last Monday, just two days before the possible terror attack was to take place, the police arrested eight men suspected of belonging to a terror group called Revolution Chemnitz. If the investigators are right, the cell hoped to surpass the series of murders committed by the National Socialist Underground (NSU), a neo-Nazi terror group that killed 10 people, largely with immigrant backgrounds, between 2000 and 2006.

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