D3.2 Country Report | July 2021


Authors: Julia Glathe, Mihai Varga, Freie Universität Berlin

This country report uses three exemplary ‘hotspots’ of radicalisation to examine the factors at the micro, meso and macro levels that have fostered extremist violence in Germany over the past 30 years: the National Socialist Underground (NSU), the antirefugee Freital Group and the synagogue shooting in Halle. Thus, it covers the gradual diversification among right-wing perpetrators, from the long-term development of the clandestine terrorist network NSU and its massive supportive network to the rapid radicalisation visible in the open commitment to violence against refugees. It further turns to the return of attacks committed by individual far-right perpetrators since 2016, whose radicalisation is closely linked to online-communities. All three cases illustrate that right-wing extremist ideology, especially hatred against minorities, is the primary motivational factor for violence. They are also united by the feeling of extreme marginalization and lack of representation by politics, which they use to justify their acts. At the same time, differences between the groups can be seen in terms of their political agenda. While the members of the NSU and the Halle shooter refer to abstract enemy stereotypes to justify their violent acts, the Freital group pursues political goals, with which they exert pressure on the state authoritarians and partly find political representation through parties like the AfD. In addition, the report identifies various factors that facilitated the terrorist attacks and critically discusses the role and failures of security authorities.