German government rejects claim of police probe into ‘genealogy’

Berlin (dpa) – Claims that Stuttgart police are probing the “genealogy” of suspects linked to rioting were rejected by the German government on Monday, with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman referring to the term as “historically charged.”

Responding to a journalist’s question on whether “genealogical research” belonged to the duties of federal police, spokesman Steffen Seibert said: “Whoever threw it into the arena, this term is forbidden in this context.”

He called the term “historically charged and inappropriate.”

The government was confident that the authorities in the south-western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg were carrying out the necessary investigative work within the law.

“Indeed, there are significant crimes to be resolved in Stuttgart,” Seibert said.

Officials have been investigating over-night riots that erupted in Stuttgart on June 20-21, in which 32 police officers were injured while trying to break up a group of several hundred youths.

Germany, with its history of Nazis using ancestry research to hunt down individuals with Jewish bloodlines, is extremely sensitive to the concept of genealogy research conducted by police.

The police have confirmed that they are looking into the nationality of the parents of 11 suspects, “in order to clarify whether there is a migration background.”

This has been met with criticism from members of the Social Democrats (SPD), with whom Merkel’s conservatives are in coalition, and the Greens.

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