The Germany military’s counter-intelligence agency is looking into 275 suspected right-wing extremists in its ranks, including a soldier heard saying “Heil Hitler,” the Defence Ministry has told parliament in a letter seen by Reuters on Sunday.
About 143 of the cases were reported last year and 53 this year, the ministry wrote in its 15-page answer, detailing incidents of soldiers performing Nazi salutes or uttering racist remarks against servicemen with migrant backgrounds.
Public displays of Nazi symbols and salutes are illegal in Germany, where most people are repulsed by any degree of sympathy to the dictatorship responsible for the Holocaust.
The letter noted the lax manner in which some of the most serious cases have been dealt with.
One such incident is Case 29, which involved a soldier who was heard conspicuously saying “Heil Hitler,” “Heil our leader” and “Sieg Heil, comrades,” the ministry said.
“The case was passed on to the military prosecutor and the public prosecutor’s office, but neither an early dismissal nor a service ban took place,” it wrote to parliament.