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An Extremist Murder Shocks Germany’s Politicians Into Action

Many are distancing themselves from the right after the brutal killing of a CDU official.

Walter Luebcke’s memorial service in western Germany.

Walter Luebcke’s memorial service in western Germany.

Photographer: Swen Pfortner/AFP via Getty Images

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It wasn’t your usual meeting of mayors in Germany’s presidential palace this week. One had been stabbed in the throat, another received death threats and most feared for their loved ones.

They’ve all become victims of a wave of political violence that culminated last month in what appears to be the first assassination of a politician by a right-wing extremist since the end of the Nazi-era. Walter Luebcke, an immigrant-friendly member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party, was shot in the head on his front porch. The detained suspect, a man with a neo-Nazi background, first confessed and, upon switching legal counsel, recanted.