MAINZ, Germany -- Cookie Monster is being used by two neo-Nazis in eastern Germany to spread right-wing ideology among students in a local high-school, according to police.
“After months of investigation, we were able to arrest a well-known right-wing extremist dressed in a Cookie Monster costume, while he and an accomplice were handing out leaflets that read “To Be German is Cool’ at a local school in Senftenberg,” Ines Filohn, a police spokeswoman in the state of Brandenburg, told NBC News.
Following the incident, police searched the homes of the two extremists in the cities of Cottbus and Schwarzheide and confiscated computers with other neo-Nazi material. Pending official charges and further investigations, the two men –– both in their thirties -- were released by police.
According to reports in Britain’s Daily Mail, one image found on one of the suspect's computers included a picture of the Sesame Street character Cookie Monster standing next to Adolf Hitler with the caption "Who ate my cookie?"
“We are presently trying to identify whether the two men can be linked to 20 other incidents that involved the Cookie Monster,” Filohn said.
Since the end of September, German police have been searching for the makers of short comic-like Internet videos showing the Cookie Monster and were investigating at least one case in which unknown suspects had plastered posters on school walls that read: “In 2030, the last Germans."
Experts say that neo-Nazi groups and individual extremists have been searching for new ways to draw attention to racist ideologies and in particular are promoting their "Volkstod," or "National Death" campaign, which is used by right-wing extremists to describe what they perceive as the degradation of the German race in a multicultural society.
The police spokeswoman in Cottbus expressed concern 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.
“The hardcore extremist scene is small, but very well connected,” Filohn added. “And, they are cleverly using this type of provocation to gain broader attention, especially in the media.”
- Andy Eckardt