The number of crimes committed by right-wing extremists in post-war Germany reached an all-time high in 2020, official figures released on Tuesday showed.

Police recorded 23,604 far-right crimes last year, a jump of more than 5% from the previous year, and the highest figure since records began in 2001.

“Right-wing extremism remains the greatest threat to our country,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in presenting the figures at a press conference on Tuesday.

He added that right-wing violence had left a ‘blood trail’ across Germany in recent years, citing deadly far-right crimes such as the murder of pro-refugee politician Walter Luebcke in 2019 and the attack racist of 2020 in Hanau which left nine dead. people.

The 2020 figure is just above the previous high of 23,555, recorded at the height of the refugee crisis in 2016, while the total number of politically motivated crimes also reached a new all-time high of 44,692.

Noting that there had also been a sharp increase in the number of left-wing extremist and Islamist crimes, Seehofer said the figures showed “brutalization of our society”.

“They are disturbing, mainly because they show that the trend of the last few years is continuing,” he said.

The number of politically motivated crimes was a “yardstick for the mood in society,” and particularly in a year when “the pandemic has caused further polarization,” he added.

German police have recorded “politically motivated crimes” since 2001. Those classified as right-wing extremists range from banned Nazi salutes to deadly attacks.

The latest figures come amid growing concerns in Germany over the rise of violent right-wing extremism.

A survey in eight of Germany’s 16 states showed that three to four people were the target of far-right attacks per day, the VBRG victims association said on Tuesday.

The attacks mainly targeted refugees, migrants and black Germans, said VBRG president Judith Porath, adding that anti-Asian violence has also increased since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.