Saxony-Anhalt police chats: Hitler image and anti-Semitism

Saxony-Anhalt police chats: Hitler image and anti-Semitism

18 police officers in Saxony-Anhalt are to be fired for right-wing extremist chats. The Interior Minister speaks of a “shame”.

Police vehicle in front of old building

A patrol car in front of the Ministry of Justice in Magdeburg Photo: Christian Schroedter/imago

LEIPZIG taz | In Saxony-Anhalt, 18 police officers are to be fired because, as police students, they are said to have been involved in a WhatsApp class chat with National Socialist, anti-Semitic, racist and violent content for years. “According to the current state of knowledge, 11 of the 18 employees have actively posted messages, videos and pictures with corresponding content in the chat group,” said Saxony-Anhalt Interior Minister Tamara Zieschang (CDU).

The chat existed from 2017 to 2021. When the WhatsApp group was opened, the police students at the time were between 16 and 33 years old. Zieschang said at least 50 of the more than 5,000 messages were anti-Semitic, racist or glorified violence. For example, someone is said to have posted a photo of Adolf Hitler with an anti-Semitic caption. The photo of a dismembered woman’s body is said to have been shared. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the 18 people involved, who are now being released, were about to become civil servants.

Four of the 18 police officers are also under criminal investigation for using signs of unconstitutional organizations, hate speech and the distribution of violent and animal pornography.

“This behavior and in particular the content of the chat, which is incompatible with the obligation to comply with the constitution, is not tolerated by me, by the entire state police,” said Zieschang. “They contradict our professional ethics and our mission statement.” The chat not only shook her, but was “a shame” for Saxony-Anhalt’s police. The case is unique in the history of the state police.

The investigators came across the chats by accident

The Halle police stumbled upon the chat by accident. Actually, she was investigating another matter against a former police student at the Aschersleben University of Applied Sciences.

The factions in the state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt are shocked by the case and are calling for a thorough investigation. “The fact that such a non-spirit, such a lack of culture could prevail among police students and serving police officers for years gives cause for great concern. The fact that not a single official from the chat group intervened is a discouraging signal, especially for those affected by violence and crime,” said Sebastian Striegel, domestic spokesman for the Greens parliamentary group, the taz. An independent police commissioner is needed.

Henriette Quade from the Left Group called on the Ministry of the Interior to “finally” analyze racist, anti-Semitic and anti-democratic attitudes in the police force. The case showed once again “that extreme right-wing attitudes among police forces are not isolated cases, but that there is a structural problem”.

Opposition also criticizes leadership failure

The domestic policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Rüdiger Erben, said: “If a whole class association moves on the net in this way, then it must have been noticed in reality. With such an unhealthy esprit de corps on the part of future police officers, the duty of care of superiors has also failed.”

Guido Kosmehl from the FDP parliamentary group calls for “consistent action, exhausting all criminal and disciplinary law options”. Chris Schulenburg, the domestic policy spokesman for the CDU parliamentary group, stressed that the state police and the interior minister were taking the incident very seriously. The promised further processing is existential for trust in the state police.

The professional association Police Green said on Twitter: “Shame on the police? The greatest shame is that many such groups are accidentally exposed in the context of other investigations.”

The Saxony-Anhalt police did not want to comment on the case to the taz.

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