Antifa film director warns of far-right threat in Germany

Germany is not doing enough to combat the far right, the makers of a German movie about anti-fascist activists claimed Thursday as it was premiered at the Venice film festival.

Antifa film director warns of far-right threat in Germany
Counter-demonstrators of a rally against the coronavirus measures held in Berlin on August 29th gather and hold a banner that says "Masks on, Nazis out".

“Things have really started to escalate in the last five years,” warned Julia von Heinz, the German director of “And Tomorrow the Entire World”, the story of an idealist law student who flirts with violence as a way of stopping the rapid rise of the extreme right.

She claimed there was a risk that “Antifa” groups frustrated by the lack of state action could take the matter into their own hands.

“We have too often the feeling that connections between the police and army and the right-wing structures are too tight,” von Heinz told reporters.

“If there is mistrust people start to get violent themselves,” she added.

READ ALSO: From the NSU to anti-Semitic attacks – how racist and far-right terror in Germany is rising

Von Heinz and her actors wore masks carrying the names of people killed by far-right groups in Germany to a press conference before the premiere.

“We all know the names of the murderers, but we want to remember the victims who did nothing wrong other than having the wrong colour of skin, being disabled, or speaking out against neo-fascism,” she told reporters.

Von Heinz said it was dangerous that more people in democracies seemed to be “looking for very easy answers” to their problems.

She added that an anti-face mask rally in Berlin last week that led to far-right activists attempting to storm the Reichstag building was typical of this search.

READ ALSO: 'Anti-coronavirus' demonstation takes place in Berlin

The director, who is vying for Venice's top Golden Lion prize, said the march allowed “a strange mix of people – nationalists, hippies and esoterics – to protest together under a easy populist slogan.”

An antifa activist herself in the 1990s, von Heinz said her film was not at all autobiographical.

But she did draw from her own experience in the movement, which she argued is now more diverse than it was then.

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New army scandal: Germany vows to punish soldiers caught singing anti-Semitic songs

Germany's Defence Minister on Tuesday vowed to severely punish soldiers stationed in Lithuania who were accused of singing racist and anti-Semitic songs, if the allegations turned out to be true.

New army scandal: Germany vows to punish soldiers caught singing anti-Semitic songs
German soldiers training in Saxony-Anhalt in May. credit: dpa-Zentralbild | Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert

“Whatever happened is in no way acceptable,” said Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Those implicated would be “vigorously prosecuted and punished”, she added.

The Spiegel Online news site had on Monday reported that German soldiers in Lithuania sang racist and anti-Semitic songs during a party at a hotel in April.

One had also sought to sexually assault another soldier while he was asleep, a scene which was caught on film, said Spiegel.

According to Spiegel Online, the scenes took place at a party at which soldiers consumed large quantities of alcohol. They are also alleged to have arranged a “birthday table” for Adolf Hitler on April 20th and to have sung songs for him.

It is unclear to what extent more senior ranked soldiers were aware of the incidents.

Three soldiers have been removed from the contingent stationed in the Baltic country and an investigation is ongoing to identify other suspects, said the report.

The German armed forces have been repeatedly rocked by allegations of right-wing extremism within their ranks.

Kramp-Karrenbauer last year ordered the partial dissolution of the KSK commando force after revelations that some of its members harboured neo-Nazi sympathies.

SEE ALSO: Germany to compensate gay soldiers who faced discrimination