Yesterday, at the instigation of the Naumburg Public Prosecutor's Office, the residential and business premises of Sven Liebich were searched in connection with investigations against "Shirtzshop GmbH" in Halle/Saale. The right-wing extremist with a relevant criminal record and another person are accused of the commercial dissemination of inciting content and "rewarding and approving criminal acts." "This case [is] the first in Saxony-Anhalt to be investigated for operating a criminal trading platform on the Internet (§127 StGB)." (Joint press release of the Naumburg Prosecutor General's Office and the Saxony-Anhalt State Criminal Police Office).
Hate as a business model
For well over 20 years, Sven Liebich has been a central player in neo-Nazi propaganda with nationwide significance. His diverse merchandising products reflect the current right-wing extremist and conspiracy ideological campaigns. The images and symbols he uses often paraphrase anti-Semitism and racism to the limits of punishability and beyond.
Liebich not only offers corresponding articles for sale on the Internet. He is also permanently present in the public sphere. For years, he has been the organizer and main protagonist of the right-wing extremist "Monday demonstration" in Halle, supplementing these inflammatory events with marches on a wide variety of topics and locations. At the demonstrations and rallies in public space, racist statements are mixed with contempt for democracy, conspiracy myths and disgusting personal attacks against politicians, political opponents or simply passers-by who come within the radius of his hate messages.
At the same time, the violent speeches repeatedly result in real attempts and attacks by Liebich's supporters. Thus, charges were brought against him for the attack on a photographer in Leipzig, and proceedings are underway against him and others for an attack on a vaccination team in Querfurt. Often, Liebich's specific activities are still below the threshold of criminal liability, but they harass and persecute, for example, members of parliament of democratic parties, whom he stalks at public appointments, insults them and spreads these attacks via social media platforms. The social climate in Halle has been significantly damaged in recent years by the sustained unrestrained agitation in the public sphere.
Liebich's political activities are at the same time linked to his economic interests. His rallies are always also permanent advertising events for the products with political messages that he sells. The participants of his rallies are at the same time the potential customers of Shirtzshop and Liebich's online store "Politaufkleber", the streams of the neo-Nazi's rallies and actions advertise his person and content as well as his commercial offers.
His products include stickers with a "Jewish star" like the one Jews were forced to wear under National Socialism, instead of the inscription "Jew" re-labeled as "unvaccinated" or "diesel driver". There are also stickers that can be used to cover stumbling blocks commemorating people who were deported and murdered under National Socialism. In addition, there are T-shirts and other products with other racist, anti-Semitic, extreme right-wing motifs, always adapted to narratives popular at the time in the extreme right, most recently, for example, in relation to the Corona pandemic and containment measures. In relation to the war in Ukraine, Liebich had most recently also publicly displayed the "Z" symbol, which can be found on tanks of the Russian armed forces and is understood as a commitment to the Russian war of aggression.
Hesitant action by the Halle public prosecutor's office
For years, Sven Liebich was able to act as a veritable hate producer without the police or the public prosecutor's office in Halle effectively preventing him from doing so. So far, the latter has repeatedly discontinued proceedings against Liebich on the grounds that there was no public interest in prosecution. It was explained to those affected and to those who filed charges that there were no clear criminal offenses (such as insult, slander, defamation) in their cases. The signal to those affected was devastating: "Do not rely on the judiciary in the fight against right-wing agitation. In Liebich's case, the continued suspension of proceedings led to further brutalization and the perception that he could spread his propaganda without legal consequences.
This makes the investigation that has now been initiated to counter Liebich's business model of hate all the more important. Successful criminal proceedings against Sven Liebich would be a strong signal from the rule of law to those affected that hate and incitement will no longer remain without sanctions.
Right-wing movement entrepreneur
Sven Liebich has been active for many years, especially in Halle and the surrounding area. In 2021, at least 72 rallies and demonstrations organized by him took place in the city of Halle alone. In addition, he was in numerous other places nationwide as a registrant and participant of numerous gatherings of the extreme right on the road.
Liebich was a leading member of the neo-Nazi organization "Blood & Honor". Among other things, his neo-Nazi store in Halle was searched in the course of the ban on "B&H Germany" in 2000. Until 2003, he was the leading figure of the neo-Nazi comradeship scene in Halle. He and his sister owned several stores and stores that sold typical items for the scene. Liebich was an integral part of the neo-Nazi scene throughout Germany and Europe. At the time, his activities contributed significantly to the youth-cultural "modernization" of the neo-Nazi scene.
At the beginning of 2004, he suddenly disappeared from the public eye. For several years, he could only be proven to have had sporadic contacts with the neo-Nazi scene. After gradually returning to the public eye in early 2014, he claimed publicly on several occasions that he had left the neo-Nazi scene in 2003. In fact, Liebich refrained from making openly right-wing extremist statements for quite some time. During his public absence, however, he worked on further developing his products. As a result, he has been running a general store for right-wing hate and agitation for many years.
Meanwhile, Liebich is once again one of the most active players on the extreme right in Saxony-Anhalt and beyond. He has almost perfected the combination of analog and digital propaganda and supplements it with targeted attacks against the most diverse groups of people.