The scenes of Reich war flags and flags fluttered in front of the Reichstag building on the sidelines of the Corona demo in Berlin, caused horror across the country. The flags were also seen again and again at other rallies against the Corona measures, which also included Reich citizens, conspiracy theorists and right-wing extremists.
Berlin now wants to investigate a ban on flags. The Berliner Zeitung reported Sunday, citing a spokesman for the Senate administration.
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) announced earlier on Saturday at the CSU’s digital party convention that the Reichs war flag would be banned in Bavaria. “With such a flag you show your clear rejection and distance from our democracy,” said Söder. “We will not allow right-wing extremists to hijack our free democracy.”
Bremen was the first federal state to ban the Reich War Flag and the Reich Flag last week. The use of the flags in public “regularly constitutes a lasting violation of the requirements for an orderly coexistence in society and thus a threat to public order”, the decree states. However, the simple imperial flag is affected only if “there is a specific provocation effect in individual cases”.
Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia are also considering such a ban. A nationwide ban is also being debated.
Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) spoke out in favor of banning the Reich war flag from public space. “The Federal Interior Minister applauds when the federal states exhaust their legal capabilities to prevent the Reich war flag from being displayed in public,” his spokesman for the German news agency said Friday. The subject should be on the agenda at the conference of the interior ministers in December.
When was the Reich war flag used?
The flag with a black cross on a white background, an eagle in the center and black-white-red stripes with the iron cross at the top left is originally from the monarchy. It was the official war flag of the armed forces of the German Reich from 1871 to 1945. During this period there were several official versions. The use of the National Socialist Empire’s war flag, in which the eagle was replaced by a swastika, is prohibited throughout the country.
The flag with a cross is often used by right-wing extremists and right-wing groups – instead of banned National Socialist ensembles. As a result of the protests against the Corona measures, which also brought together right-wing groups such as esotericists and opponents of vaccinations, the flag was increasingly presented in public.
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The use of the flag also means a glorification of the German armed forces during the German Reich and the Third Reich and a perspective of the First and Second World War.
When was the imperial flag used?
The black-white-red flag with horizontal stripes – the Reichsfahne – was the flag of the German Empire between 1871 and 1919. Right-wing extremist organizations already claimed the flag during the Weimar Republic.
But what would a nationwide ban on flags mean? Would the symbols of the empire be permanently banned from public space? Probably not.
Because in extreme right circles there are various symbols that could serve as an alternative and as a ‘replacement flag’. “If Seehofer and the interior ministers of the federal states ban the Reich flag, another symbol will be sought,” said FDP interior expert Benjamin Strasse of the “Saarbrücker Zeitung” (Saturday edition). The FDP speaks out against a national ban.
Rather, the analysis capacity of the security authorities needs to be improved, Strasse said. Because right-wing extremists would very consciously join and undermine other groups.
Simone Rafael, spokeswoman for the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which campaigns against right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism, also thinks a ban makes little sense. It is conceivable that the “right-wing alternative scene” is looking for a new flag – or just waving more intensely with Germany’s black, red and gold flag, she tells the editorial network Germany. Rather, it’s important to figure out how to bring back people who march with these flags. (with dpa, Reuters)