Germany Shooting Underscores Concerns About Links Between Extremists in Europe and the U.S.

New York, NY, October 10, 2019 … The shooting attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany, by a suspected white supremacist – an attack that was livestreamed and otherwise reminiscent of the Christchurch and Poway shootings – is further evidence that white supremacists in Europe and the U.S. are sharing violent tactics as well as hateful ideologies.

“This attack on a synagogue in Germany is part of a continuum of extremist violence that knows no borders,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “While we are still learning about the motives of the shooter in Halle, the attack needs to be understood within the context of the growing internationalization of white supremacy and online radicalization. Halle, Christchurch, Poway and Pittsburgh did not happen in a vacuum, and these attacks share important elements – not only in the ideology that inspired them but also in the methods and language of the perpetrators.”

Among the relevant findings from ADL’s recently released report, “Hate Beyond Borders: The Internationalization of White Supremacy:”

  • The globalization of violent white supremacy has been accelerated by social networking sites like Twitter, Gab, Minds, Telegram and message boards like 8chan, 4chan and Reddit.
  • Germany has a long-standing tradition of exchange with American far-right extremists. Since the 2000s, German and American white supremacists have participated and spoken at one another's conferences and events.
  • German far-right online activists are also inspired by the American "alt right" and try to copy their ideas, memes and trolling strategies.
  • Analogous to online activity around the U.S. 2016 presidential election, a network of German far-right new and old activists tried to copy the strategies of "memetic warfare" by organizing on Discord servers, a chat and messaging platform, fighting "SJWs" (a derogatory term for progressive "social justice warriors") and promoting the far-right party Alternative for Germany using memes.
  • European and American adherents are learning from each other, supporting each other and reaching new audiences. 
  • They feel empowered and emboldened because they perceive that they are influencing the political climate and reaching disaffected whites.
  • Global access to white supremacist ideology, and its easy dissemination across borders via various social media platforms, means many of the ideas promoted by the white supremacist movement — curtailing of non-white immigration, attacks on globalization and the accompanying conspiracies about elitist globalists — are increasingly part of mainstream political and social rhetoric.
  • William Pierce's book The Turner Diaries and Louis Beam's concept of "leaderless resistance" had an important influence on the formation of German Freie Kameradschaften (free/independent comradeships) and German far-right terrorism in the 1990s.
  • The German terrorist organization National Socialist Underground (NSU) followed the concept of Beam’s leaderless resistance. Authorities believe that the NSU was inspired by the race war depicted in The Turner Diaries. The NSU killed 10 people in Germany (nine of them immigrants) and carried out bombings, robberies and attempted murders between 2000 and 2007.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.