by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
German security services say "high double-digit number" of public servants belong to Reichsbuerger group, which maintains Third Reich continued after Germany's World War II defeat, Der Spiegel reports
German security services have identified dozens of public servants, including in the police and army, as belonging to a far-right movement that denies the existence of the very republic they serve, weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported.
According to data compiled by the German security services, a "high double-digit number" of public servants belong to the group "Reichsbuerger," or Citizens of the Reich, a mystical nationalist movement that maintains that the Third Reich continued even after Germany's defeat in World War II, the magazine reported.
Investigations are underway against 11 members of Bavaria's state police, five of whom have been suspended from duty. There have also been 11 cases in Germany's Federal Police and four of them have had their service weapons confiscated, the report said.
Up to five cases have been identified in the armed forces.
The German domestic intelligence agency declined to comment on the Der Spiegel report.
It has been previously estimated that the Reichsbuerger has a total national membership of about 16,500. Of those, 900 are considered "far-right extremists."
German authorities are particularly sensitive to signs of far-right radicalism in their ranks.
The post-war German Federal Republic was founded as an explicitly liberal project to repudiate the crimes of the Nazis' Third Reich, which committed some of history's worst crimes, including the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews.
Despite a ban on groups that threaten political violence or seek to overturn Germany's constitutional order, some individuals do fall through the cracks.
Investigations are still underway against a former high-flying army officer who last year was found to have been plotting violent attacks.
A member of the Reichsbuerger shot dead a police officer in Bavaria in October 2016 as a police team was about to enter his home to seize his hunting and sports guns. Authorities had deemed him fit to possess weapons as a member of the group.
Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
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