Commander of Elite German Army Unit Warns of Rising Far-Right Extremism in Ranks
Official concern at the rise of right-wing extremism in Germany escalated again on Thursday, as details emerged of a letter written by the commander of an elite military unit warning against far-right activity in its ranks.
Gen. Markus Kreitmayr — the commander of the Bundeswehr’s Special Forces Command (KSK) — said that his unit was facing an unprecedented crisis.
“I do not mean to exaggerate with the fact that our association is currently experiencing the most difficult phase in its history,” Kreitmayr wrote to the approximately 1,000 troops under his command earlier this month, in a letter made available through the dpa news agency.
Addressing those soldiers involved with far-right activity, Kreitmayr declared, “You don’t deserve our camaraderie! You should leave the KSK on your own initiative. If you don’t, you will discover that we will find and remove you!”
A 45-year-old sergeant-major in the KSK was arrested on May 13 for concealing a cache of weapons, ammunition and plastic explosives at a village in Saxony, while four other soldiers were reported to have been dismissed from the force.
Focused on special operations, counter-terrorism and unconventional warfare, the KSK has been deployed during conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
The far-right elements in the KSK had “caused massive damage to the reputation of the commando, special forces and the Bundeswehr as a whole, but also to each and every one of us personally,” Kreitmayr wrote.