A new report has revealed that Germany is witnessing an uptick in far-right extremism, which had led to the defacing and vandalisation of memorials dedicated to Holocaust victims.
The report by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a centre-left research institute, has indicated that as many as one in every 12 Germans now subscribes to some form of extreme right ideology, reports Euronews.
This is a serious increase compared to the much lower figures recorded in the biannual study, which has been running for two decades.
One of the most striking changes in recent years is a detectable spread of extreme beliefs beyond Germany's traditional generational divide, according to Foundation researcher Franziska Schroter
"The acceptance of far-right attitudes is seen in every age group, depending on which phenomena you look at. What's worrying us is a reversion in the trend," she told Euronews.
"It used to be that the young ones were consistent democrats, rooting for equality instead of being revisionist and nationalist, while the older age groups had higher rates (of extremism).
"We thought that demographics, globalisation and political education would help us in strengthening that. But now we see higher numbers among middle aged people, and especially young people.
"Young survey panelists who have mostly not experienced a war or the real threat of dictatorship in their lives, but who have endured a lot of crisis, seem to be leaning towards the idea that more dictatorship and less democracy could help get things done," she added.
A spokesperson for the Foundation of Hamburg Memorials and Learning Centres Commemorating the Victims of Nazi Crimes, which is responsible for the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial and several other remembrance sites, told Euronews that its staff have noted an uptick in 2022 and 2023, particularly vandalism with Nazi-themed stickers and graffiti.
The report came just days after police broke up the German chapter of the Hammerskins, a long-established international white supremacist organisation that originated in the US.
It has now been banned by the German government, which considers it an extremist group that illegally spreads "racial theory based on Nazi ideology".