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Graves of anti-Nazi fighters and Jews desecrated in Germany

Several graves of anti-Nazi fighters and Jews were desecrated between Wednesday and Thursday last week in Südwestkirchhof, Stahnsdorf, Germany.

Among the graves desecrated was the family grave of Joachim Gottschalk, who famously refused to be separated from his Jewish wife and their son by the Nazi government. The family committed suicide in 1941 after a campaign of intimidation by the Nazis. Slurs were apparently written on the grave site.

A commemorative plaque to resistance fighters who fought against the Nazis was also destroyed. As well as this, a plaque commemorating the resistance fighter Richard Huttig, who was executed by the Nazis, was damaged.

Decorations on a grave of a Jewish family were also damaged.

Despite the damaged graves being clearly linked, being obvious targets for antisemites and neo-Nazis, the administrators of the cemetery are not treating it as an antisemitic incident and the police have refused to say whether they will do so or not. If this is, as we suspect, the result of neo-Nazi activity, it represents not only one example of resurgent far-right extremism, but also an example of the growing prominence of WWII-era-style Nazism and ultra-Nationalism, not based purely on racism and antisemitism, but instead with a genuine reverence for Nazi politics and Nazi figures and collaborators. This ideology has been increasingly visible in Europe.