Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 11:29 UK

Germany bans 'Nazi youth group'

HDJ logo
The German interior ministry said the HDJ had several hundred members

The German interior ministry has banned a far-right group for allegedly organising activities promoting racist and Nazi ideology among young children.

The Homeland-Faithful German Youth (HDJ) taught children as young as six that foreigners and Jews were a threat to the "German nation", officials said.

Police have also raided the offices and houses of the group's leaders in four states in connection with the ban.

The HDJ said it was a "youth group for environment, community and homeland".

But at its special holiday camps, children were taught elements of "racial ideology", including the "purity of blood" and "the continuation of the German race", with the aim of forming a neo-Nazi elite, the interior ministry said.

"With today's ban we're putting an end to the nauseating activities of the HDJ," Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.

"We will do everything in our power to protect our children and youth from these Pied Pipers," he added, referring to the legend of a man who lured the rats, and later the children, out of the German town of Hamelin by playing a pipe.

The interior ministry said the HDJ had several hundred members and was a cornerstone of the far-right movement, with ties to the National Democratic Party (NPD).

NPD leader Udo Voigt went on trial in Berlin last week charged with racial incitement and defamation. He and two other key members are accused of questioning the presence of non-white players in Germany's national squad ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

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