More than 180 police officers in Germany raided homes in three states on Tuesday after the government banned a far-right group.
According to the country’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, authorities raided the homes of 11 members of Wolfsbrigade 44, a group that reportedly seeks to reestablish a Nazi dictatorship and eliminate democracy. During the raid, funds for the group as well as propaganda were confiscated, reports The Associated Press.
“Whoever fights against the basic values of our free society will get to feel the resolute reaction of our government,” said Seehofer. “There’s no place in this country for an association that sows hatred and and works on the resurrection of a Nazi state.”
Officers also reportedly found knives, a machete, a crossbow and bayonets during their search, along with Nazi-related objects like swastikas and flags.
The group was founded in 2016, the AP reported, and has become known for its anti-Semitic, racist ideology and its violent appearances in public and online. The "44" in its name is derived from the fourth letter in the alphabet, D, and stands for Division Dirlewanger. Oskar Dirlewanger was the commander of a Nazi SS unit and a known war criminal.
The German government banned other far-right groups, including Combat 18 and the Nordadler, earlier this year, according to the AP, which cited German news agency dpa.
In October, a German right-wing extremist attempted to force his way into a synagogue in the city of Halle during Yom Kippur.
The suspect, identified only as Stephan B., killed two passersby upon failing to enter. The incident shook Germany, and in response its government pledged $26 million to improve the security of synagogues and other Jewish sites.