Germany’s Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) has ruled that the authorities of the Federal State of Berlin can lawfully dismiss a policeman who is accused of being a neo-Nazi sympathizer.
The policeman has tattoos of the Horst Wessel song, the anthem of the Nazi Party, and was photographed while performing the Nazi salute. Nazi memorabilia were also found in his home.
The defendant, who was born in 1974, works as a policeman in Berlin but was suspended due to his pro-Nazi behaviour 10 years ago. However, he continued to receive his full salary, which amounts to €2,350 per month.
The public prosecutor’s office prosecuted him in 2007 on charges of producing and distributing neo-Nazi songs, displaying Nazi symbols and performing the Nazi salute in public. But the authorities dropped the case as they were unable to prove that the defendant had shown his tattoos in public and that the songs he had distributed referred to Anne Frank, as the prosecutors had alleged. Moreover, the photos of him performing the Nazi salute had been taken abroad.
However, the Berlin authorities dismissed him, arguing that he breached his oath of allegiance to the Constitution. The policeman subsequently filed a lawsuit and won.
On Friday Germany’s Federal Administrative Court ruled that the dismissal of the policeman was lawful. “A public official can be in breach of allegiance through the display of tattoos with unconstitutional content,” the Court decided, adding that public officials “must declare their support for and defend the constitutional order to which they have sworn allegiance.”
The Police Union of Berlin welcomed the Court’s ruling. “We’re happy that the Federal Administrative Court has finally put a stop to this,” said Police Union spokesperson Benjamin Jendro. “Now we have to find out as quickly as possible whether this individual has any ties to like-minded [far-right] sympathizers who are currently in service.”