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Thursday, 2 August 2012

German Police Kept Jobs Despite KKK Involvement

Officials allowed two German police officers to keep their jobs even after it emerged that they had been members of a Klu Klux Klan spin-off group. The men were also colleagues of a policewoman believed to have been murdered by a neo-Nazi terrorist cell discovered last year. Whether there was any direct connection or not, politicians are demanding answers.

A racism scandal is unfolding in Germany this week following the revelation that two police officers in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg had been members of a German spin-off group of the Klu Klux Klan. The two men are still serving in uniform -- one on the normal police force and the other as a squad commander for riot-control police. The state's Interior Ministry on Wednesday confirmed reports that the men had been involved with a group that called itself the European White Knights of the Klu Klux Klan (EWK).

The development has left many officials dumbfounded. How, they are asking, could public officers who swear an oath to protect the constitution have been members of a racist organization? Officials first uncovered the links during an ongoing investigation of the murderous National Socialist Underground (NSU) neo-Nazi terror cell. Between 2000 and 2007, the group allegedly murdered at least nine small businessmen of mainly Turkish descent, along with one policewoman, Michèle Kiesewetter. The two police officers with alleged Klu Klux Klan links also happened to be Kiesewetter's former colleagues.

If not for the neo-Nazi terror investigation, light might never have been cast on the fact that the Klan has been active in Germany. EWK operated in Baden-Württemberg between 2000 and 2002, with domestic intelligence counting some 20 members in the end, according to German daily Die Tageszeitung. But even more unbelievable than the group's existence is that German police officers were involved, and that very little action was taken once they were exposed. While they were both reportedly subject to disciplinary action, they were still allowed to keep their jobs.

Sebastian Edathy, a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party who heads an investigative committee on the crimes of the NSU in Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, is calling the situation a scandal.

"Civil servants who are or were members of a decidedly anti-democratic, extremist organization must be removed from the police force," he said.
Hartfrid Wolff, a member of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party who is also a member of parliament's domestic affairs committee, expressed similar shock over the revelations. "I never would have imagined this," he said. Fellow domestic affairs committee member Wolfgang Wieland of the Green Party, spoke of "inexcusable behavior."

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