German Politically Motivated Crime Surges to Highest on Record

(Bloomberg) -- The number of politically motivated crimes in Germany rose to the highest level in almost a quarter of a century last year, driven by a surge in right-wing extremism and Antisemitism.

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Authorities recorded 60,028 offenses in 2023, an increase of about 2%, according to figures published Tuesday by the interior ministry in Berlin. That was the most since the data set was created in 2001.

Almost half the crimes were committed by people from the right of the political spectrum, with offenses surging by more than a fifth to nearly 29,000.

“Politically motivated crime has almost doubled in 10 years and continues to rise,” Holger Muench, the president of the Federal Crime Office, told reporters.

“We must take this development very seriously, as it threatens our democracy and social peace,” he added.

The publication of the figures comes after a spate of recent attacks on politicians campaigning ahead of next month’s European Parliament elections.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other senior politicians have repeatedly warned about the threat to German democracy from extremism, with the far-right Alternative for Germany leading in the polls in three eastern German regions before elections there in September.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, a member of Scholz’s Social Democrats, said that Antisemitic offenses had reached a new high since the attack by Hamas on Israel in October. There were 5,164 such crimes last year, up from 2,641 the previous year.

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Germany is also experiencing an increase in aggression and intimidation against citizens who are politically active, perform voluntary work or who are members of the police and other emergency services, Faeser said, speaking alongside Muench.

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