Investigations into the right-wing German soldiers
German Defense Minister Angrett Kramp-Kranbaur vowed on Sunday to take “decisive action” against any extremism in her country’s army, after reports that he had arrested a member of the elite forces (known as the KSK unit) on suspicion of extreme right-wing tendencies.
“We have reached preliminary conclusions on this issue, we will continue to work with the same rigor, and we will impose the same conclusions on each case,” she said during a visit to Kosovo.
Local media have revealed that the army is conducting a secret investigation into a number of its members suspected of having ties to a far-right movement that glorifies the Nazi period, which the country seeks to distance itself from and disown its consequences.
“Everybody in the army draws attention to their militancy in any way that has no place in this army,” said the minister, who succeeded Chancellor Angela Merkel as leader of the Christian Democrats.
She pledged to take each case “very seriously,” noting that there would be a special investigation into whether networks and communications were behind the cases, saying that was why the MID had set up a working group since the latter incident Attached to the KSK unit.
Earlier, the newspaper “Bild am Sonntag” that the army is conducting secret investigations with a member of the elite forces and two other soldiers, has received instructions to take action against this person after the leak of the investigation.
One of the other soldiers was stripped of his right to wear military uniforms, and the other was classified as “suspicious.”
The newspaper said that the two had previously paid the banned Nazi salute during a special ceremony hosted by the first suspect, whose work will be suspended next week.
Elite forces are responsible for sensitive and risky missions, including hostage rescue or counterterrorism operations outside the country, but face repeated accusations that some of their elements are leaning to the far right.
The head of the military’s military intelligence service, Christophe Gram, said there were about 20 suspected extremist right-wing tendencies with elite forces. The number of similar cases in the army is estimated at about 500.
The army has repeatedly been accused of linking some of its embarrassing elements to Germany’s military past.
Last year, then-Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen ordered the army to cleanse itself of all ties with the Nazi army, after learning that Nazi-era army helmets and memorabilia had been publicly placed in a barracks.
It also ordered the change of the name of military barracks still bearing the names of World War II military commanders such as Marshal Irwin Rommel.