Statistics for the number of people killed by right-wing extremists in Germany since 1990 may have to be increased dramatically, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Officially, authorities currently say neo-Nazis have killed around 60 people, including the 10 mostly Turkish immigrants shot dead by the National Socialist Underground (NSU) terrorist group between 2000 and 2007.
Anti-racism groups and analysts have long put the figure much higher, at close to 200. But even that may grossly understate the true number of victims, the Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper reported.
It cited the German Interior Ministry as saying police had re-examined a total of 3,300 unsolved killings and attempted murders between 1990 and 2011 and had concluded that there could be far-right involvement in 746 open cases with 849 victims. The checks were ordered after the NSU case came to light in 2011. For years, police had ruled out right-wing extremism as the motive behind those killings.
Cases to Be Re-Opened
The NSU case exposed deficiencies in Germany's security services, such as a lack of coordination between police and the domestic intelligence agencies.
A parliamentary report released in August made dozens of recommendations for reforms, including more racial diversity among police and security forces. But it stopped short of stating that Germany has institutional racism in its security services -- a problem anti-racism campaigners frequently refer to.
The Interior Ministry could not immediately be reached for comment. It was not clear how many of the 746 cases and 849 victims referred to killings and how many to attempted killings. The cases will now be sent back to regional police forces for re-investigation.
The ministry will decide next year whether to re-examine other categories of unsolved crimes such as bomb attacks and bank robberies to determine whether there might be a far-right link to them.
Germany's federal states on Tuesday launched a fresh attempt to outlaw the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NDP) on the grounds that its ideology is similar to that of Hitler's Nazi party and that it is seeking the militant overthrow of Germany's democratic order. One analyst told SPIEGEL ONLINE on Tuesday that the NPD was a "center of gravity for violent right-wing extremism."