Germany’s new hard-left interior minister, Nancy Faeser (SPD), is on the defensive in the face of a wave of criticism that’s come her way after it was revealed that she wrote for a far-left Antifa magazine managed by an organization with links to extremism.
Faeser, who was appointed to interior minister last December under the Chancellorship of Olaf Scholz, wrote an article published by an Antifa magazine—the press organ for the Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschisten (VVN-BdA)—which has been classified as a left-wing extremist organization by the Bavarian state intelligence agency, the newspaper Junge Freiheit reports.
The intelligence agency, the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), in its current annual report, not only described VVN-BdA as “the largest left-wing extremist organization in the field of anti-fascism in Germany,” but also noted that it works “openly with left-wing extremist forces.”
The BfV isn’t alone in its assessment of the VVN-BdA. The State Offices for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV) in Hesse and Baden-Württemberg have reached the same or similar conclusions about the group.
While the LfV in Hesse evaluated the group as being “influenced by left-wing extremists,” its counterpart in Baden-Wüttemberg has noted on numerous occasions that the “political course of the VVN-BdA is decisively shaped by functionaries” who are “left-wing extremists or members of a left-wing extremist organization.”
Previously, on account of the far-left extremist character of the organization, Faeser’s party, the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD), under the leadership of its then-chairman Kurt Schumacher, barred members of the VVN from joining the SPD—a policy that was only repealed in 2010.
The group, in 2019, had its non-profit status temporarily revoked by the Berlin tax office, underscoring the domestic intelligence reports and according to the organization’s chairwoman Cornelia Kerth that the group is under the observation of intelligence agencies in 11 of the 16 federal states.
Despite the fact that she had been well aware of the extremist orientation of the VVN-BdA—and of the assessments made by the state intelligence apparatuses (LfVs)—Faeser penned the guest article for the Antifa publication just six months before she took over control of the nation’s internal security apparatus.
“Only a few months before her appointment as Federal Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser demonstrated her closeness to the Antifa milieu with this publication.” Martin Hess, an MP for the Alternative für Deutscheland (AfD) party, said.
“Like the magazine’s editors who are influenced by left-wing extremism, it defames all positions as fascist or right-wing extremist that deviate from the left edge of the political spectrum in a communist manner,” Hess added.
Faeser’s article certainly isn’t the first instance in which top officials in the SPD have cozied up to fringe, left-wing extremists. In the spring of 2020, when former U.S. President Donald Trump indicated that he wanted to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization, several notable SPD members publicly defended the far-left group, including SPD co-leader Saskia Esken who professed to be a member of Antifa herself.
In light of these revelations, it isn’t difficult to understand why Faeser—almost immediately upon assuming her role as the federal interior minister—declared war on ‘right-wing extremism,” which she claimed—and continues to claim—is the most immediate and severe threat to Germany.
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.