The election of the controversial right-wing former judge Ronald Schill as Hamburg's interior minister has prompted fears that a new generation of far-right politicians with strong views on crime and immigration may be poised to emerge.
Germany’s Christian Democrat party has also recently flirted with far- right policies. It sparked controversy with an anti-immigration advertising campaign which urged people to put "kinder statt Inder" (children before Indians).
The far-right is split between the German People's Union (DVU), the Republicans (REP) and the German National Democratic party (NPD). Traditionally it has thrived in the unemployment-ridden former East German states, such as Saxony-Anhalt. The German People's Union polled nearly 13% in local elections there two years ago.
However, no party has ever passed the 5% threshold needed to gain political representation nationally. Germany has strict laws against any rehabilitation of its Nazi past, and many Germans feel a heavy moral responsibility not to allow nationalist politics to return.