Germany plans legislation to ban so-called ‘enemy lists’

BERLIN — The German government on Wednesday unveiled draft legislation that would criminalize the distribution of lists naming people as potential targets for intimidation or violent action.

Numerous so-called enemy lists have circulated in far-right online forums in recent years, some of them containing private information and threats such as “we’ll get you all.”

Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said the proposed legislation is intended to better protect people from intimidation, including local politicians who have faced hate-filled comments and death threats for their actions.

Walter Luebcke, a politician in the Kassel region and member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, was featured on such lists before he was shot dead on his porch by a neo-Nazi in 2019.

Under the proposed legislation, anyone found to be distributing personal data in a way that could endanger the people concerned would face up to two years’ imprisonment or a fine. In the case of lists including data that isn’t publicly available — such as information that could only have come from law enforcement databases — a maximum three-year prison sentence could be imposed.

Journalists and antifascist groups that seek to expose extremist networks would be exempt from the ban.

The bill requires parliamentary approval.