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Germany probes troops over anti-Semitic chat group

November 27, 2020

The German defense ministry is investigating allegations that 26 members of the military were involved in a group chat where they shared anti-Semitic and far-right material. Cases like this are increasingly common.

German soldiers in Afghanistan
Image: Michael Kappeler/dpa/picture alliance

German authorities are investigating a group of soldiers suspected of organizing a chat group where users shared anti-Semitic, far-right extremist and pornographic material, German media reported on Friday.

Many of the 26 soldiers suspected of being involved in the chat belong to a logistics unit at Neustadt am Rübenberge near Hanover, the ministry. The investigation was revealed in a report to parliament that was initially shared by German public broadcaster ARD.

Civilian and military investigations began in October after the accusations first came to light.

The alleged group was made up of 16 non-commissioned officers and 10 other officers. So far, three of the soldiers have been temporarily suspended, according to German news agency dpa.

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Series of scandals

The case marks the latest in a series of far-right scandals to emerge relating to the German military and law enforcement.

In June, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer disbanded a company of the army's elite KSK special forces after recurring incidents of far-right extremism.

A report published in October showed that 1% of military personnel, police officers and security personnel, a figure that worried many observers given Germany's past. But Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said it showed there was no evidence of a "structural problem."

ed/rs (dpa, Reuters)