Amazon Germany Accused Of Using Neo-Nazis To Monitor Immigrant Workers



BERLIN – “Disgusting,” “inhuman,” “unbelievable” – that was the tenor of thousands of comments that have been left in recent hours on Amazon Germany's Facebook page. The outrage followed an incendiary documentary about the e-commerce giant aired on German Television ARD on Thursday night.

Customers also passed on info to other users on how to cancel their Amazon account, according to Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Filmmakers Diana Löbl and Peter Onneken accused Amazon of hiring workers lured from all over Europe by false promises that they would get a work contract directly with the firm. The workers are allegedly monitored around-the-clock by guards from a security company accused of having links to Neo-Nazi groups.

Thor Steinar is a favorite of Neo-Nazi groups in Germany (insight blog)

The immigrant workers earn a gross hourly wage of 8.52 euros but only learn this two days before they are scheduled to leave their country. Shifts can included up to 15 days in a row without a day off; and they are housed in crowded conditions in empty holiday camps. Room and board are deducted from their wages.

Selling everything from books to coffee pots to toilet paper, Amazon has a 25% share of the German mail-order market, with a 2012 turnover of 6.8 billion euros.

Löbl told Süddeutsche Zeitung that Amazon personnel is watched 24 hours a day – on the job and then in the housing compounds by a security firm suspected of ties to Neo-Nazi groups. The firm is called HESS Security, which the filmmakers suspect of being a reference to top Hitler deputy Rudolph Hess. The guards are shown dressed in Thor Steinar clothing, a brand so strongly associated with Germany's far-right scene that its products have been banned at soccer matches and the German parliament.

The guards allegedly threatened the filmmakers and destroyed some of their footage.

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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