GERMANY: Amazon's former private security firm with neo-Nazi employees is one of many, say reports

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20.02.2013 - A documentary aired by German TV channel ARD on Thursday night (14 February) about online shopping firm Amazon's operations in Germany caused outrage and was widely covered in the media.

The documentary revealed that workers are being attracted from all over Europe with promises of getting a contract with the firm. If they do get a job, workers are monitored round-the-clock by guards from a security company accused of having links to Neo-Nazi groups. [1]

The security firm used by Amazon, with which it has ceased doing business following the exposure, [2] is called HESS. According to the film-makers this is not a coincidence and is a reference to Rudolph Hess, one of Hitler's top deputies.

However, Amazon is not the only company using private security firms that employ neo-Nazis.

The newspaper Märkische Algemeine has reported that politicians are worried about the high percentage of right-wing extremists employed by private security companies. In the state of Brandenburg one in every ten people working at a security company reportedly has extreme right-wing connections/beliefs. [3]

Security companies with a high number of far-right employees are often hired to guard football matches and village events, and according to politicians interviewed by the newspaper it is difficult to take action to prevent this from happening

Björn Lakenmacher from the conservative Christian Democrat Union (CDU) told Märkische Algemeine that he once attended a village feast guarded by such a security company and felt that the event had "a threatening atmosphere".

The reports about private security firms follow a series of revelations over the past year about murders carried over a decade out by neo-Nazis in Germany. The authorities have faced criticism "for failing to connect the group with the attacks" and for subsequently carried out substandard investigations. [4]

ARD's documentary on Amazon can be viewed online here (in German only).

[1] Amazon Germany accused of using Neo-Nazis to monitor immigrant workers, Expatica, 19/02/2013
[2] Amazon dismisses German warehouse security firm, BBC News, 18/02/2013
[3] Klaus Ness (SPD) missbilligt Neonazis im Wachschutzgewerbe, Märkische Allgemeine, 13/02/2013
[4] Focus: Right-wing extremism in Germany, Deutsche Welle

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