Stefan Jagsch in a Facebook photo.

Less than a week before Islamic State militants bombed Brussels, killing at least 31 people and again raising fears about refugees in Europe, a much more hopeful story — one, perhaps, destined to be forgotten — played out on the rolling green hills of Friedberg, a German town of 28,000 north of Frankfurt. There, a right-wing politician known for his anti-refugee rhetoric and sometimes referred to as a “neo-Nazi” crashed his car into a tree, was knocked unconscious — and was rescued by two Syrian refugees.

The report of Stefan Jagsch’s March 16 accident appeared to first surface in the German news outlet Frankfurter Rundschau, and was confirmed by Der Spiegel and reported by the Associated Press. The cause of the accident was not known; it was reported Jagsch was “seriously injured.” The refugees who came to his aid, who happened to be passing the scene of the accident in a bus after Jagsch hit the tree, were not identified, but reportedly pulled Jagsch from the car, performed first aid and waited with him until an ambulance arrived. They were gone by the time police arrived.

In a Facebook post, Jagsch — a 29-year-old member of the anti-immigrant National Democratic Party (NPD) who has posted statements such as “the boat is full” and “integration is genocide” on his Facebook page, as Bild reported — said he couldn’t confirm that the men who helped him were refugees.

I cannot comment in this regard, because I was not at the time of salvage conscious,” a translation of his post read. “So I cannot confirm that it was a Syrian refugee who pulled me out of the vehicle, nor refute! For this reason, I give no opinion on the matter.” Jagsch said health reasons prevented him from commenting further, but the Guardian reported the Syrians told firefighters Jagsch was conscious when they helped him from the car.

Jean Christoph Fiedler, an NPD leader, said Jagsch was

, but “doing well, considering the circumstances.” Fiedler also reportedly thanked the refugees for their “

.”  For the NPD, this was high praise. The party is not shy about expressing its low opinion of the roughly 1 million refugees who


“It is absolutely naive to assume that [there] are not Islamist terrorists among these many people, who were allowed to enter largely uncontrolled,” a translation of the party’s website read. “The terrorist attacks by Islamists in Europe have highlighted the danger brings mass immigration for internal security.”

A post on Jagsch’s Facebook page.

Earlier this month, the NPD made headlines when it was reported Germany’s highest court, not for the first time, was considering banning it. The party, which has about 5,200 members, received 1.5 percent of the vote in Germany’s 2009 general election. Though it has one seat in the European Parliament, it has no seats in Germany’s Bundestag, or national parliament.

Though German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the NPD an anti-democratic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-constitutional party” and her government supports the recent effort to ban the party, she has also said she’s skeptical about its possible effects.

“[An NPD ban] shouldn’t give anyone the illusion that this alone would tackle the extreme right-wing enemies of democracy,” she said in 2013. “It is very important that we every day renew support for the rule of law and freedom, for courage and against bigotry and racism.”

A previous attempt to ban the NPD was made in 2003 after the murders of 10 people, most of them Turkish, by alleged neo-Nazis. In 2014, the Huffington Post declared the NPD one of the “scariest far-right parties now in the European Parliament.”

“The neo-Nazi NPD has been campaigning on a platform of stopping immigration and been called racist and anti-semitic,” it wrote. “They have fought under the banner of slogans like ‘Money for granny instead of Sinti and Roma’ and ‘the boat is full,’ given interviews insisting Europe is ‘a continent of white people’ and have marched with banners proclaiming the Nazi ideology of ‘National Socialism.'”

Last year, the German broadcaster DW reported on the “nipster” phenomenon — German “neo-Nazis” adopting a fresh new look for millennials. Shaved heads and bomber jackets are out, it seems.

“Our goals have not changed,” NPD spokesman Klaus Beier said, but “of course we are trying to transport our politics to various social portals.” He added: “We have been elected in part by 18- to 24-year-olds … We want to speak their language.”