A neo-Nazi named Steffen Lange was arrested today for dressing up as Cookie Monster and distributing right wing extremist literature at a primary school in in the eastern German hamlet of Senftenberg, in the state of Brandenburg. The arrest of Lange, 31, and an unnamed sidekick were the result of an intensive investigation by Brandenburg police, and might be linked to at least 20 other incidents in nearby schools involving neo-Nazis, Cookie Monster, and hate-pamphlets.
The pamphlets that were collected from the Seftenberg Primary were Cookie Monster themed, and bore the legend ‘To Be German is Cool’. This latest flyer bears a striking similarity to another neo-Nazi leaflet that made the rounds on the internet a few months back, featuring the blue-haired muppet and several other Sesame Street residents gathered around Adolf Hitler, with a caption that read “Who Ate My Biscuit.”
A search of Lange’s home by German police turned up several variations of these Cookie Monster flyers, along with several lap tops that were just rife with extremist material.
According to Ines Filohn, a police spokeswoman in the state of Brandenburg, German neo-Nazis have been using Cookie Monster-themed imagery to recruit little kids into the neo-Nazi scene more frequently lately. It has been posited that the neo-Nazi use of Cookie Monster is a way for the fringe movement to appear cool.
“It’s an attempt to make it seem harmless and everyday and perhaps something a bit fun and a bit rebellious,” another police spokesman said, according to the UK Daily Mail.
Since September 2013, German police have been searching for the makers of right-wing propaganda Youtube videos featuring Cookie Monster. Additionally, they were investigating a case in which unknown suspects had festooned school walls with posters reading: “In 2030, the last Germans.”
Experts say that neo-Nazi groups and right-wing extremists intend to draw the attention of Germany’s youth to racist ideologies and are heavily promoting their “Volkstod,” or “National Death” campaign; what neo-Nazi extremists perceive as the degradation of the German race in a multicultural society.
The police are concerned over the manipulation methods used by the neo-Nazi duo.
“These extremists are trying to trivialize their dangerous ideology by using simple language, by creating ironic cartoons and by increasingly using social media to reach adolescents,” Filohn said, adding: “The hardcore extremist scene is small, but very well connected. And, they are cleverly using this type of provocation to gain broader attention, especially in the media.”
Currently, Filohn and the Brandenburg police are trying to determine whether Lange and his accomplice can be linked to the other 20 Cookie Monster incidents.