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While the environmentally focused Green Party has also been making gains, the growing phenomenon of right-wing extremism and the success of the AfD in the eastern half of the country can no longer be ignored by policymakers. He has denied the existence of Nazi speech when questioned about using words associated with the Third-Reich, including "Lebensraum" or "degenerate," as in a recent interview with German broadcaster ZDF.

Passed by the Dresden City Council, the motion aimed to highlight the gravity of the growing problem of right-wing sentiments and violence and to ask the federal government for more resources to fight it. Radical currents have long existed in eastern Germany, said Anetta Kahane, who runs the Amadeu Antonio Foundation which works to combat racism, right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism throughout Germany.

Parties like the AfD, she said, build on attitudes previously held in East Germany.

The Berlin Wall Falls and USSR Dissolves

A right-wing extremist protest culture began to grow in the s in the former communist East, drawing members from the football hooligan scene. After the wall came down in , right-wing radicalism boomed in former East Germany. Riots in and in cities of Rostock and Hoyerswerda saw racist participants attacking refugee shelters and hostels of foreign guest workers.


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Right wing-extremist activities continue today with the xenophobic riots in Chemnitz or the anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue in Halle which left two people dead in October serve as prescient examples. According to Germany's domestic intelligence service's annual report released in June, the arrival of nearly 2 million asylum seekers since has emboldened far-right extremists motivated by racism, anti-Semitism and anti-democratic values.


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In June, pro-immigration politician Walter Luebcke was killed by a right-wing extremist outside his home. One reason for this trend towards extremism in the former East is simply a historical lack of civil society infrastructure, says Kahane. Her organization sets up counseling centers for victims of racism, puts on awareness campaigns and works with local institutions to strengthen democratic processes -- in the former communist East as well as the West.

'Spirit of optimism is gone': Sombre mood as Germany marks 30 years of Berlin Wall fall

However, she stresses that society cannot afford to be pessimistic. All rights reserved. Play AP, File. Interested in History? AP, File.


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The Berlin Wall Falls and USSR Dissolves

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The rise and fall of the Berlin Wall and why it matters today. | America Magazine

Thank you for your feedback. Berlin Wall wall, Berlin, Germany. Read More on This Topic. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. West Berlin, then literally an island within the surrounding GDR, became the symbol of Western freedom. Generous cultural and economic subsidies and the exemption of its citizens from West German conscription made West Berlin a centre of artistic….

Erected by the East German authorities in to prevent their citizens from fleeing to the West, the Wall was a concrete symbol of the division of Berlin, of Germany, and of Europe. Less than a year later, on Oct. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice.

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