Researchers of “extremism” have identified friendly, environmentally-conscious families living in the German countryside as likely dangerous radicals, and warn that rural living itself “is linked with racism”.
Marking country-dwellers with right-wing views as a problem, self-styled “antifascists” are hoping to get large numbers of migrants sent to rural settlements and have established welcome initiatives in preparation.
Welt informs readers that extremism researchers caution that “Volkisch families” pose a threat to the country. The term “Volkisch” relates to the German interpretation of populism and carries connotations of folksy and organic living.
Introducing Volkisch families, the daily newspaper writes: “They belong to no party, no union, and no organisation. They have no [political] voice and get no handouts. The term therefore [refers to] family groups who live in the countryside and are outwardly exemplary but internally right-wing.”
Describing a scene in which men, women, and children in traditional dress dance around a meadow, the newspaper warns that while such people look “basically quite harmless, they are not”.
Volkische families, Welt informs readers, are “friendly neighbours” who “grow vegetables and raise animals, keep bees, and produce electricity from photovoltaic systems”.
Other indicators to watch out for, it continues, are people who “show up as ‘greenies’ and engage in agriculture and crafts, argue against the planned highway 39 in their region, and they have a lot of children. The women bake cakes and get involved in parents’ meetings.”
The federal government views Volkische families as a danger to Germany, asserting that there is “a risk that nationalist settlers’ participation in regional ecology projects and in associations, educational institutions, church structures, and other groups will increase their acceptance [by society] and simultaneously [allow them] to spread their partially-racist ideology”.
Member of the far left Antifascist Action group Olaf Meyer, who go so far to keeps tabs on the activities of right-wing families they even spy on them from hedger, says right-wing extremists are often “young couples [who] buy farms and restore them together with their relatives and friends”.
Asked by the newspaper why he objects to “families meeting together, not committing crimes”, Meyer replies: “Because their concept of their lifestyle only applies to people they define as German”.
Seventy-year-old social worker Knut Jahn, who lives in a rural area, complains that in summer he and his wife are “surrounded” by “Nazis” who in summer hold “meadow festivals, [with] folk music and free beer”.
Rather than moving house, Welt explains that Jahn and a couple of his like-minded neighbours see themselves as spearheading the fight against fascism in the German countryside.
To combat right-wing activity they, along with antifascist groups, put up posters declaring “it’s a wonderful life without Nazis” and warn that Midsummer celebrations and similar events are not welcome in the area.
To combat the phenomenon of right-wing families living in the countryside Jahn says he “expects a lot of refugees” to come in future and that they have set up welcome initiatives in anticipation of this.
The controversial Amadeu Antonio Foundation cautions that there is “a link between rural life and racism”. In a report commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs, the foundation wrote: “The objective of [Volkisch families] is to affect everyday culture and build a self-sufficient economic network.”
“While at first glance the men and women seem just to be engaging in cultural and traditional activities, they don’t accept migrants, refugees, democrats, and homosexuals in their society,” the publication cautions.
Earlier this year the high-circulation German parenting magazine Baby & Family carried a special report, informed by the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, warning that families who are “cheerful” and “inconspicuous” could be right wing and thus “dangerous”.
The foundation, which was founded and is chaired by ex-Stasi agent Anetta Kahane and fights against conservatism in Germany, runs the government’s online crackdown on people who criticise open door mass migration and the violent behaviour of migrants towards the German people.