Sunday, December 14, 2008

A knife in the dark

It was back in May that The Wife justly bemoaned a certain blindness on the part of some Bavarian politicians regarding the threat posed by far-right extremists.

It suddenly seems that this has changed, but the reason is hardly one to celebrate.

Yesterday evening, Alois Mannichl, the police superintendent in Passau, was attacked and stabbed as he answered the door at his home. Before fleeing, the attacker, according to Der Spiegel, stated: 'Greetings from the national resistance. You leftist police pig, you will no longer trample on the graves of our comrades.' ('Viele Grüße vom nationalen Widerstand. Du linkes Bullenschwein, du trampelst nicht mehr auf den Gräbern unserer Kameraden herum').

'National resistance' is a self-designation popular in far-right circles.

Mannichl survived, though it appears to have been a close call, as the knife missed his heart by a couple of centimetres.

It would not be surprising if the 'cowardly attack' (in the words of Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Hermann) was indeed carried out by the far-right, since Mannichl has been one of their most determined opponents.

Most spectacularly, he seems to have taken a leading role in re-opening the grave of a prominent neo-Nazi figure in July. This had been done since another leading neo-Nazi had laid a flag with a swastika on it over the casket while it was in the grave. The use of such symbols is illegal in Germany, and the police opened the grave and removed the flag.

The alleged statement of Mannichl's attacker would fit with the outrage that the re-opening of the grave sparked on the far-right.

It seems likely that the conservative leadership of the Free State have finally been shaken out of their complacency regarding the fascist threat in their midst. It's unfortunate that it has taken a shocking attack upon an apparently courageous policeman to do so.

We wish Alois Mannichl a speedy recovery.

No comments: