Posted on June 5, 2024

Germany: Augsburg Public Prosecutor Drops Criminal Investigation Into ‘Foreigners Out’ Chant

Denes Albert, Remix, June 4, 2024

The Augsburg public prosecutor’s office has dropped investigations into a nationalist chant that has become a popular anthem with a number of German youths after finding it does not constitute incitement to hatred and is therefore not a criminal offense.

The chant, “Deutschland den Deutschen – Ausländer raus,” which translates to “Germany for the Germans – Foreigners out,” has been popular with German youth, who sing it to the tune of “L’amour toujours” by Gigi D’Agostini. The latest and most public instance involved youth on the island of Sylt whose faces were splashed across the public news in a leaked video just last month. However, there have been numerous instances of the chant both before and after the incident on Sylt.

The Augsburg case has to do with Germans singing “Ausländer raus” at a Carnival parade in Landsberg am Lech in February, which led to an investigation.

“In principle, such slogans are always punishable,” the Augsburg public prosecutor Melanie Ostermeier, told Bild newspaper. “However, the criminal offense of incitement of the people requires that in the specific case — going beyond the announcement of mere rejection and contempt — hatred against foreigners is incited or violence and arbitrary measures against foreigners are called for or foreigners are insulted, slandered or maliciously disparaged in violation of human dignity.”

The prosecution argues that the song did not meet the necessary burden.

“The proceedings were discontinued because the offense was not fulfilled in this specific individual case,” explained the prosecutor.

However, the case has not been dropped everywhere, with other cases still, such as in Neubrandenburg in the eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In that instance, young people sang the song on Oct. 14 last year, which helped spread the popularity of the song. There, authorities are still deciding on whether charges will be brought.

If the case were to be tried for the incident that happened eight months ago, a judge will still decide as to whether the song is punishable under paragraph 130 of the German criminal code, which covers “incitement.”

The code states that “anyone who incites hatred against parts of the population or calls for violent or arbitrary measures against them in a way that is likely to disturb public peace is liable to incitement to hatred (No. 1) or attacks the human dignity of others by insulting, maliciously scorning or slandering parts of the population (No. 2). The penalty is a prison sentence of three months to five years.”

In the case of Sylt, major politicians, Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (SPD) has called for the youth in the video to receive the harshest punishment possible, including “perhaps even the maximum penalty.”