Four Ku Klux Klan units are currently operating in Germany, local media reports said Tuesday, citing a parliamentary inquiry. The KKK although marginal has a significant influence on the country’s far-right groups.
The white supremacist group characterized by its anti-immigration and anti-Semitic ideologies has been active in Germany since the early 1920s. The four clandestine units have a “very small number of members” according to the response to the government inquiry filed by the Left Party. KKK members in the country reportedly burn crosses, display swastika flags and sing “anti-constitutional songs.”
“The low membership numbers cannot discount the danger that emanates from such organizations,” Left Party politician Monika Renner told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
According to the Deutsche Welle broadcasting service, the U.S.-born group is suspected of committing at least 68 crimes in Germany since 2001. At least two police officers previously belonged to one of the four units called the ‘European White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan,’ according to the report.
Germany, which took in more than 1 million refugees in 2015, is currently witnessing a rise in the number of hate crimes committed against the refugees. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency BfV said in a June report that the number of hate crimes linked to far-right groups had jumped from 990 in 2014 to 1,408 in 2015.
Amnesty International in June accused the country of failing to tackle this increase in violence. In a report titled "Living in insecurity: How Germany is failing victims of racist violence," researchers said crimes against minorities had jumped by 87 percent from 2013 to 2015.
“With hate crimes on the rise in Germany, long-standing and well-documented shortcomings in the response of law enforcement agencies to racist violence must be addressed,” Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s European Union researcher, said in a statement. “There are many factors that point to the existence of institutional racism with German law enforcement agencies. This question needs to asked, and it needs to be answered… This is not a time for complacency, but for law enforcement agencies to take a long, hard look in the mirror.”