The assassination of Walter Lübcke, a member of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union, at his home in Istha, Germany, on June 2 could instigate further violence against other politicians who similarly support pro-migrant policies. According to the German Interior Ministry, authorities arrested far-right extremist Stephan Ernst on June 15. Officials said Ernst admitted committing the attack to take “revenge” for Lübcke’s pro-refugee stance, marking the first political assassination the country has seen in more than half a century. Ernst later retracted his confession.
Ernst has an extensive history of violence against immigrants, including an attempt to plant a pipe bomb at a hostel for refugees in 1993. Additionally, Ernst maintains ties to several local and international neo-Nazi and far-right organizations, including Combat 18, a white supremacist extremist group founded in the United Kingdom. The group released a video showing support for Ernst following the attack.
In June, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency claimed Nordkreuz (Northern Cross), a neo-Nazi network,compiled a target list of political leaders considered supporters of pro-refugee policies. Since August 2017, Germany’s general prosecutor has been investigating Nordkreuz on the suspicion of plotting an attack, according to open source reporting.
In October 2015, a suspected extremist stabbed Henriette Reker, mayor of Cologne, Germany, because of her welcoming stance to refugees. Shortly after Lübcke’s assassination, Reker received threats along with Altena, Germany, Mayor Andreas Hollstein, who was attacked in November 2017 amid criticism of his asylum policy.
At this time, there are no known or credible threats to New Jersey because of this incident. The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) provides training in terrorism awareness and prevention, active shooter incidents, homemade explosives awareness and response, complex coordinated attack response, and New Jersey’s threat environment.
We encourage New Jersey’s residents to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement and NJOHSP by calling 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.