Who are the Nordadler? | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 23.06.2020
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Who are the Nordadler?

A neo-Nazi group called Nordadler, on the police radar for years, has now been banned by the German Interior Ministry. Its members believe in Adolf Hitler and anti-Semitism.

The neo-Nazi group called Nordadler (roughly: Northern Eagles) was banned by Germany's Interior Ministry on Tuesday.Its 30 members profess allegiance to Adolf Hitler and aim to revive the National Socialist ideology.

The group promotes anti-Semitic and racist views and adheres to conspiracy theories, rejecting any form of state authority. The group had planned to purchase property in eastern Germany and set up training centers like those run by the more prominent Identitarian movement.

At these sites, they were planning to hold paramilitary exercises similar to the six-month mandatory service the Nazi regime introduced for young people.

Read more: Right-wing terror in Germany — a timeline

In a TV interview with public broadcaster NDR in 2018, one of the group's members spoke about his and the group's nationalist agenda. He confirmed property had already been purchased in Mackenrode, in Thuringia, as part of a plan for a National Socialist settlement project with like-minded people in rural areas.

The Federal Public Prosecutor's Office confirmed Tuesday that members of the Nordadler had been planning terror attacks and had tried to obtain weapons, ammunition and explosive material. They were also found to have a list with the names of politicians they were planning to target. But in the right-wing scene itself, the group is seen as an ideological grouping rather than a full-blown terror unit.

At least one Nordadler leader has been found to have connections to Islamist extremists. In 2018, he was sentenced to a fine and community work for helping an IS sympathizer. The common denominator between Islamist and right-wing extremists, say German terrorism experts, is anti-Semitism.

A screenshot of a YouTube channel

Neo-Nazi groups network online, rather than real life

The far-right scene in Germany consists of many small, independent groups, loosely connected by mainly online networks in closed chatrooms or via Instagram. Many of these groups formed in response to the influx of refugees to Germany in 2015.

Read more: Germany underestimated far-right terror for 'too long'

"Right-wing groups don't have any of the traditional structures, they don't hold regular meetings in the pub around the corner, they don't have a treasurer or need a charter to pursue their goals," said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer in reference to Germany's traditional club and association structures.

Nordadler's homepage, which is now offline, showed pictures of bucolic German landscapes adorned with National Socialist-style references to the preservation of the "German Volk" (a historically loaded phrase implying German people or ethnicity) and the need for leadership without foreign influence — that is to say foreigners or Jews.

Anti-Semitism is one of Nordadler's trademarks. They even published a comment on their website praising the Halle terror attack in 2019,in which an armed 28-year-old tried in vain to enter a synagogue at prayer time, and later killed random people on the street.

In 2018, there had already been raids against the Nordadler group, but no arrests were made.

Now, the Nordadler have become the 21st right-wing extremist association to be banned in Germany — the third this year alone.

Watch video 26:05

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