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Germany: Authorities Angered At 'Heil Hitler' Internet Site

Munich, 9 August 2000 (RFE/RL) -- The German internal security agency is trying to reverse the registration of an Internet address under the name "Heil Hitler."

The organization -- known as the Office for the Protection of the Constitution -- said in Cologne this week that it is against the public interest to have such a domain name registered at a time when the authorities are fighting a new outbreak of far-right nationalism and attacks on foreigners.

The organization's spokesman, Hans-Georg Lang, said that about 350 domains espousing far-right views are registered in Germany. But he said he finds it "incredible" that in the present atmosphere anyone would try to use Hitler's name in an Internet address.

There is not yet a functioning site, but the domain name was entered a week ago in the Denic Directory, the organization that issues Internet addresses in Germany. It was submitted by a man identified only as Ralf K., whose address was given as a small town near Schwerin in the eastern German province of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. There have been several attacks against foreigners in that region this year.

The federal government is alarmed at a recent spate of attacks against foreigners, including a recent bomb explosion in Duesseldorf in which 10 immigrants were hurt. Most were from the former Soviet Union and several were Jews. There have also been several attacks against Africans.

In the wake of the violence, the government is considering a possible ban on a far-right political party, the National Democratic Party, which has several times been accused of holding neo-Nazi beliefs.

A spokesman for the Denic Directory, Klaus Herzig, said that it does not routinely check registrations for illegal or unacceptable content. He said Denic has 2.8 million entries, which makes immediate checking of domain names difficult.

"Applications for domain names come to us by e-mail and they are then automatically entered into the register," he said. He said Denic does not keep a list of domain names that should not be registered.

German authorities in Berlin say they might take action against the site. Several hundred web pages with pornographic or extremist content have been shut down already this year.