The Minister of the Interior of the Federal Republic of Germany, Horst Seehofer, has called the recent Nazi attack in the city of Halle a litmus test. In a television interview this past weekend, he said deeds now needed to follow the statements made about right-wing extremism and antisemitism.
On ZDF TV, Seehofer said “the threat situation regarding antisemitism, right-wing extremism and right-wing terrorism” was high. It was important to know this fact, the minister stressed. He had also said so months before the Halle attack.
Security and Structural Measures
Regarding the question why the Synagogue of Halle was not guarded by police at the time of the attack last Wednesday, Seehofer said the federal states and their police departments were in charge. At the same time he stated Berlin and the provinces needed to act together. First, security assessments needed to be made, after which security for synagogues had to be provided, especially while people were present in the temples.
Structural measures had to be discussed too, Seehofer told the ZDF. In Halle, the culprit had wanted to “kill as many Jews as possible”, but the door to the synagogue had prevented him from doing so. This showed how important structural aspects could turn out to be.
Before the Nazi attack, the federal state of Mecklenburg-Wither Pomerania had decided not to have stationary police guards on site. Seehofer said the terrible event on Wednesday, during which two passers-by were murdered, was a reason to change the security policy. It was important to not just have additional security for a few days, but constantly. (Note: Article continues below ‘Related Articles’ teasers.)
According to him, the additional security for synagogues and other Jewish facilities in Germany should not mean having less security in other areas. Before the ZDF interview, Seehofer had promised to provide the additional security needed. This aspect might mean that more police officers need to be employed.
Seehofer said because of its “horrible history”, Germany had promised it would not repeat itself, using the words “never again”. Considering the country’s history, the Halle attack had been a “disgrace”. Anything like this should not have happened in Germany, Horst Seehofer said in the TV interview.
In Germany, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution believes there are 24,000 right-wing extremists in Germany, out of which 12,000 are willing to resort to violence. Yet, the authorities did not know the Halle attacker before he appeared in front of the synagogue on Wednesday.
‘Threat is Very, Very, Very High’
Seehofer reiterated that, like in the case of Islamist terrorists, the threat situation concerning right-wing extremists was “very, very, very” high. They were known for their affinity for weapons and violence. He conceded that similar attacks could happen again and said it was his task to bring Germany’s federal states together on the matter, in order to make sure the country’s synagogues would receive the best protection possible.