Reuters reports that a letter from the German Defense Ministry and addressed to the Parliament claims that Germany’s military counter-intelligence service is investigating 275 alleged right-wing extremist among army servicemen, including a soldier reportedly saying “Heil Hitler.”
The letter indicated the number of reported cases in 2016, which had 143 and this year with 53. It also contained details of incidents in which soldiers executed Nazi salutes or voiced racist comments against fellow soldiers with migrant backgrounds.
Overt displays of Nazi symbols and Hitler salutes are banned in Germany where most of its citizens are appalled by any measure of support to the source of the holocaust.
The document also mentioned how the most serious cases were acted upon rather leniently. Case 29, for example, concerns a soldier who was clearly heard saying Heil Hitler,” “Heil our leader” and “Sieg Heil, comrades.”
The Ministry said, “The case was passed on to the military prosecutor and the public prosecutor’s office, but neither an early dismissal nor a service ban took place.”
Another case cited in the letter involved a serviceman who posted racist comments – such as insisting on the death sentence for “typical foreigners” – on a Facebook account with links to extreme-right National Democratic party (NPD).
In January, the country’s Constitutional Court described the NPD as similar to the Nazi Party founded by Adolf Hitler, but decided not to ban it because it did not have the strength to be a danger to democracy.
The soldier was “only disciplined,” the letter said.
A third case mentions a soldier who was reprimanded for doing the Nazi salute while in Riga, the Latvian capital city. Despite the offense, he was still permitted to retain his weapon.
According to local media reports in 2016, there are indications that jihadists are attempting to join the German military to take advantage of the training with the ultimate objective of conducting attacks on German soil.