German government bans neo-Nazi 'Hammerskin' movement, raids homes

German police conducted multiple raids against homes belonging to members of the now-banned neo-Nazi Hammerskin movement. Photo by Hannibal Hanschke/EPA-EFE

Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Germany on Tuesday banned the Hammerskin neo-Nazi group while also conducting raids against its members.

The German Interior Ministry said that more than 700 police officers raided the homes of 28 members of the organization in 10 federal German states, confiscating cash and other items including weapons, clothing with the Hammerskins emblem, flags with swastikas and copies of Mein Kampf.

"The ban on the 'Hammerskins Germany' is a hard blow against organized right-wing extremism. With this ban, we in Germany are putting an end to the inhuman activities of an internationally recognized active neo-Nazi association," said German Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser.

The Hammerskin movement grew out of a neo-confederate movement in Texas during the late 1980s and expanded to multiple nations including Britain, Australia and Germany.

The group is known for promoting Nazi ideology through concerts, as well as setting up neo-Nazi music labels and selling anti-Semitic records.

In Germany, the Hammerskin movement is known for its involvement in the neo-Nazi music scene and has been linked to a music venue called 'Hate Bar,' which has faced legal consequences for displaying banned symbols.

The Interior Ministry said the ban on the Hammerskins is the 20th that it has imposed on a right-wing organization and was conducted through close coordination with United States counterparts.

"Right-wing extremism remains the greatest extremist threat to our democracy. That is why we continue to act decisively to dismantle right-wing extremist structures," Faeser said.