More than 100 weapons including swords and machetes have been seized in a series of police raids across Germany against the National Socialist Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Deutschland.
German authorities say they have found no evidence of links between the group and the American Ku Klux Klan.
More than 200 police officers were involved in raids on 12 apartments across eight different German states. Weapons including replica guns, airguns, knives and throwing stars were seized.
The raids targeted 17 suspects aged between 17 and 59 who are alleged to have formed an illegal organisation. No arrests were made.
“The members are united by a far-Right attitude, which manifests itself among other things in a glorification of National Socialism. At least some of the group make verbal threats of violence, plan to arm themselves and harbour violent fantasies,” prosecutors said in a statement.
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“No evidence of links to other Ku Klux Klan groups could be found, but the suspected group members show sympathies with Nazi ideology.”
The group recruited members on the internet and communicated mainly by social media, according to prosecutors. The group was financed by a monthly membership fee.
Police first uncovered the group’s existence when they found online chat records in a mobile phone seized as part of a separate investigation.
The raids were ordered to secure evidence such as weapons, ammunition and documents which could shine a light on the group’s organisation. Investigations are continuing against a total of 40 patriots across Germany.
Although prosecutors found no evidence of links between the group and the better known American Ku Klux Klan, there have been claims that the White nationalist movement is active in Germany.
Two investigative journalists claimed in a book published last year that there are small KKK chapters in Germany in contact with the movement’s leaders in the US.
They claimed US Klan leaders had visited German chapters and conducted cross burnings in Germany.