The group has named itself after a notorious SS commander and dreams of a new Nazi state. Now Interior Minister Seehofer has it banned.
Berlin (dpa) – With the “Wolfsbrigade 44”, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) has again banned a neo-Nazi association. His spokesman Steve Alter announced this via Twitter on Tuesday morning.
The group is also known under the name “Sturmbrigade 44”. Seehofer explained, “Anyone who opposes the basic values of our free society will feel the determined response of our rule of law.”
Early Tuesday morning, police officers in Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and North Rhine-Westphalia began to search the homes of a total of 13 club members. According to the Interior Ministry, the purpose of the raids included seizing the association’s assets and possible right-wing extremist propaganda.
According to the assessment of the security authorities, the group, which is said to have members in four federal states, does not shy away from violence to achieve its goal of restoring a National Socialist state. The number 44 in the name of the neo-Nazi group is the code for the fourth letter of the alphabet – DD is the abbreviation of “Division Dirlewanger” and refers to a war criminal and special unit commander of the Waffen-SS, Oskar Dirlewanger, who is particularly sadistic.
The group’s goal was “to regain the power of a free homeland” according to “Germanic moral law,” the federal government had stated in an earlier statement in response to a small request from the left-wing faction.
The group, which has existed since 2016 and was initially active under the name “Sturmbrigade 44”, has a fixed structure according to the knowledge of the safety authority. At the beginning of 2018, a bag with weapons and a T-shirt with the imprint “Sturmbrigade 44 Köthen-Anhalt” was found in a train. In the context of an investigation by the federal public prosecutor on suspicion of establishing a criminal organization, there were house searches in Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt in July 2019.
According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, house searches should also have taken place in Saxony-Anhalt on Tuesday. However, the administrative court of Halle and, in second instance, the higher administrative court of Magdeburg – unlike the administrative courts in the other three states – did not recognize a sufficient basis for search warrants.
Members of the “Wolfsbrigade 44” took part in extreme right-wing demonstrations. One of the symbols they use is a skull.
This year, Seehofer has already banned two right-wing extremist groups with “Combat 18” and “Nordadler”, as well as an anti-Semitic Reich Citizens Association.