Former Chief Neo-Nazi Tracker in Germany Now Subject to Extremist Monitoring

Hans-Georg Maassen, who held the crucial role of safeguarding Germany against democratic threats until five years ago, now finds himself in an unexpected twist of fate. The security agency he once led, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), is now closely monitoring his activities. This shift in dynamics occurred in 2018 when Maassen was relieved of his position as the head of BfV. The reason for his dismissal was his perceived underplaying of the violent threat posed by right-wing extremists during riots in an eastern German city.

Since then, Maassen has undergone a notable transformation, gaining attention for his increasingly radical commentary on the perceived risks associated with immigration in Germany. This shift in his stance has not only raised eyebrows but has also garnered him support from far-right activists. Notably, he has found favor within circles connected to Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss, an aristocrat known for leading a coup attempt in 2022 that was ultimately foiled. This unexpected journey from a security official to a figure embraced by far-right elements underscores the complexities and shifts in perspectives within the political landscape.

Maassen’s Reply to the Backlash

Expressing his sentiments on X, he stated, “It’s evident that Germany is apprehensive about me.” He highlighted that the country was utilizing its internal security agency to keep tabs on both him and the political party he established.

When questioned about the monitoring of Maassen, the BfV cited privacy laws as a constraint preventing them from commenting on specific cases. However, Maassen took the initiative to publish on his website a letter from the BfV. This letter, a response to a Freedom of Information request from his lawyer, affirmed that he was prominently featured in their databases dedicated to tracking extremists.

In response to Reuters’ inquiry, Hans-Georg Maassen did not promptly offer a comment. Nevertheless, a blog known as Tichys Einblick, which stands in support of Maassen, quoted him dismissing the allegations, stating that they are baseless and unjustified.

It’s worth noting that in the previous month, Maassen made a significant announcement about the formation of a new political party. This development is part of a broader trend in Germany, where several new political entities are being established. The common goal of these emerging parties is to attract voters who, according to polling data, are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the dominant center-left and center-right political establishments in the country. Maassen’s decision to enter the political arena with a new party adds an interesting dimension to the evolving political landscape in Germany.

Maassen’s trajectory into a far-right symbol following his tenure with the BfV has become a growing source of discomfort for Germany’s security services. This comes at a time when they are grappling with an expanding far-right movement, capitalizing on economic challenges and strained public services.

During his role as the head of BfV, Maassen effectively served as Germany’s chief tracker of neo-Nazis. However, documents disclosed by the BfV portray him receiving repeated commendations from far-right figures. An illustrative example from the released documents notes, “The right-wing extremist Bernhard Schraub, in a letter to Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss, described your client as an ‘upstanding republican.'” It is important to note that only unclassified material is included in releases under freedom of information.

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