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German politician receives neo-Nazi death threats

July 4, 2020

A state parliament leader of Germany's socialist Left Party has received hate mail containing non-public personal information. The letters were signed by the "National Socialist Underground 2.0," a neo-Nazi moniker.

Janine Wissler
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Warmuth

Parties in the German state parliament of Hesse issued a joint statement Saturday to denounce "heinous and disgusting" threatening hate mail sent to the parliamentary leader of the socialist Left Party.

Janine Wissler said she received two threatening letters containing personal information that is not publicly known which were signed "NSU 2.0."

The NSU (National Socialist Underground) was a neo-Nazi terrorist group in Germany uncovered in 2011 that has been associated with a number of murders and terrorist actions against non-Germans and prominent left-wing figures.

The signature "NSU 2.0" indicates a resurgence of the group and echoes anonymous death threats received by Frankfurt lawyer Seda Basay-Yildiz two years ago.

Basay-Yildiz represented the family of the first murder victim of the NSU.

The police never discovered the author of those letters.

Read more: Berlin reacts to allegations that far right is 'tolerated' in German military

Party leaders 'appalled'

Wissler thanked her fellow party chiefs for their message of solidarity on Twitter.

"The democratic parties in the state parliament of Hesse are appalled by the apparent right-wing extremist threats," the statement said, signed by local leaders of the center-right CDU, the center-left SPD, the environmentalist Greens and the pro-business FDP. The state parliament is led by a coalition of the CDU and the Greens.

"The threats against our colleague Janine Wissler are heinous and disgusting," the statement continued. "An attack on one representative is an attack on us all."

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the fourth-biggest in the state, did not sign the statement, but their parliamentary leader also expressed outrage at the letter and said he hoped the author would soon be found and face prosecution.

Read more: German neo-Nazis trained at Russian camps: report

Lawyer also targeted

The latest episode of hate mail has drawn comparisons with the death threats received by Basay-Yildiz. The threats received by the lawyer also contained a great deal of personal information about the lawyer, which was later found to have been lifted from a Frankfurt police database.

Several civil servants police lost their jobs but no one was charged with sending the letters, according to broadcaster Frankfurter Rundschau.

A group chat among public servants containing right-wing extremist content was also uncovered.

The fresh threats come days after a Left Party politician was attacked in Bavaria. An unknown assailant tried to attack Stefanie Kirchner in the city of Ingolstadt while insulting the party, according to police.

The Left Party is the direct descendant of the Socialist Unity Party, the governing party in the one-party system of the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, from 1949 to 1989. They currently have representatives at all levels of government, especially in the former eastern states.

ed/mm (AFP, dpa, epd)