By Jeevan Vasagar, and Alastair Good7:30AM BST 19 May 2013
Next to a mural showing an idealised Aryan family, Gothic script declares that the village in eastern Germany is "free, social, national." The signpost next to it once pointed the way to Hitler's birthplace, 530 miles away in Austria, until a court order forced villagers to take it down.
The echoes of the Third Reich are quite deliberate. In Jamel, a tiny collection of red brick farmhouses fringed by forest, dozens of villagers describe themselves as Nazis and a majority turns out to vote for the far Right.
This is a place with little welcome for strangers. Rottweilers bark incessantly. A shaven-headed man shouts his own warning while a woman shrieks an obscenity from her window.
Jamel is for some the tip of the iceberg; an indication of how the far Right in Germany is open and active, especially in areas of former East Germany where jobs are scarce.
This month in Munich, the opening stages of a shocking trial have given further cause for introspection in a country which is being forced to confront the violent racism which pervades parts of its society.
Beate Zschaepe, 38, an apprentice gardener from Jena, east Germany, is accused of complicity in a series of racially motivated murders carried out by a neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground.
The cell is being held responsible for the murder of eight men of Turkish origin, who were shot in the head at point-blank range.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has apologised to the victims' families, describing the killings as "a disgrace for our country".
But the case has raised questions about official complacency. German security services and police failed to pursue tip-offs about the NSU, instead suspecting the immigrant victims of having links with organised crime.
Figures published recently by the German government showed that crime attributed to the far Right is now on the rise, with more than 17,000 crimes last year – of which 842 were violent acts.
Authorities estimate that there are more than 22,000 Right-wing extremists in the country. Nearly half of these, around 9,800, are regarded by Germany's security services as violent.
The disturbing figures have prompted politicians to promise a crackdown on the far Right. The interior minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, pledged to increase police pressure on extremist groups "so that all people, regardless of their origin, can feel safe in Germany".
In Jamel, Stefan Koester, a regional MP for the far Right German National Democratic Party (NPD), boasts that his party won six per cent of the vote in state elections in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – the state that includes the small village – and now has five MPs in the regional parliament.
"We're threatened from both sides, on one side by immigration, on the other by low birth rate," he says.
"The other parties want to attract capital, human capital, from other countries, the intelligence from other countries, and we say that we can't do that. Our families must have more children."
The NPD emphasises its communal activities – it hosts free drop-in sessions offering advice to citizens, and organises children's festivals. Its campaign posters show families playing on the beach with the slogan: "Stop the death of our people. The country needs German children."
Officially, the NPD says that it rejects violence "for political ends", but the threat seems to lurk in the background.
Two years ago, Sven Krueger, an elected representative of the NPD in Jamel, was sentenced to four years in prison for illegal possession of a machine gun and an automatic pistol.
Krueger, a demolition contractor whose firm has the slogan "We are the boys for rough stuff", was the driving force behind the neo-Nazi domination of Jamel and his family still live in the village.
A few years ago, he began buying up properties and encouraging fellow supporters of the far Right to settle alongside him. Now, more than half the families in the small village are open neo-Nazi supporters.
Birgit Lohmeyer, an author, moved from Hamburg to Jamel with her husband 10 years ago. When the Lohmeyers bought their house, they were told that a "notorious neo-Nazi" lived here. They thought they could cope with that. But since then, they have become the minority.
"It's very tense," she said. "My husband and I are the outlaws here. We are insulted, we are threatened, we are sabotaged in various ways. People drive their cars in front of ours and force us to brake. There is damage to property, our garden shed has been broken into. Our postbox has been labelled with Nazi stickers – it has been stolen.
"There was a sticker saying, 'No place for neo-Nazis', and it was altered to read, 'No place without neo-Nazis'."
The Lohmeyers refused to be driven out, insisting they have found their dream home in the countryside. Mrs Lohmeyer said: "Our house is everything we wished for. No one will take it from us, neo-Nazis or anyone else."
Some in the village insist there is no threat. One Jamel resident who agreed to give a brief interview, a shaven-headed man whose back was covered in the Nordic-style tattoos favoured by the far Right, said: "Everyone is happy. Everybody's friendly here, does everything together."
Asked about the Nazi-style mural, he claimed ignorance, insisting: "I don't know. It's nothing to do with me. I don't vote for the NPD."
Five miles up the road from Jamel, the constituency office of the NPD shares a building with the business address of Krueger's firm, Krueger Demolition. A poster outside illustrates the vision of communal life offered by the NPD; there are white, Aryan-looking children taking part in a sack race, alongside images of a torchlit parade, and shaven-headed youths beating military-style drums.
The building appears empty, but is evidently under some surveillance; within minutes of outsiders arriving, a car pulls up with two heavyset men inside. One of them rolls down his window to shout: "Get back to the West!" The car makes another sweep past minutes later.
Except for cities like Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig, eastern Germany has not shared in the economic success of the west since unification, creating fertile ground for extremists.
A government report last year stated that unemployment in the eastern states stood at 10.3 per cent, compared with 6 per cent in the rest of Germany. The east's economic output per capita was less than three-quarters that of the west.
The National Socialist Underground, the tight-knit group to which Ms Zschaepe allegedly belonged, was based in Zwickau, in the eastern state of Thuringia.
Simone Oldenburg, a left-wing politician who helps run a youth club near Jamel, said: "For 10 years the criminal acts of the NSU were not discovered. The state was asleep. It was dismissive – it had at first suspected the victims, instead of looking for the real causes.
"That's how it was in Germany. One had become blind to these crimes, and through this laxity, opened further the ground for Right-wing thinking and extremist crimes."
In places like Jamel, the far-Right offers a message which combines an emphasis on communal activities with a defensive attitude to the outside world.
Mr Koester, the regional MP for the NPD, said: "Many people in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern want a different kind of politics. A politics which is social, family-friendly. Other parties don't pursue these policies. The NPD offers an alternative."
Across the east, the population is forecast to decline. In Germany as a whole, migration has halted this demographic decline. But migrants – particularly highly educated young people from southern Europe – have been drawn to the affluent south and west of Germany rather than the east.
Mr Koester said his region was heading for a "population catastrophe", adding: "In 1990, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern had two million people. If the forecasts are correct, by 2050, we will have one million people."
When asked about Krueger, the NPD politician is guarded. "I know him, of course," he admits. "He is the landlord of my constituency office. He committed a crime, and must face the consequences of this."
Asked about Jamel, Mr Koester described it as "quite a normal little village". He added: "Many of the occupants have their own views, and don't want to pretend about what views they have."
In Jamel, the signpost that once pointed to Hitler's birthplace has now gone. But nearby is a painting of a signpost which is equally designed to provoke controversy: it points the way to the cities of Breslau, once in Germany but ceded to Poland, and of Koenigsberg, now part of Russia.
"These places belonged to the German Reich," said Uwe Wandel, mayor of the Gaegelow district which includes Jamel, standing by the painting.
In a democratic society, there is little than can be done to stop members of the far Right buying private houses, the mayor says, even if it leads to the creation of a neo-Nazi enclave. He is opposed to banning far Right parties.
"We have to engage with people. And if they commit crimes, they should be prosecuted," Mr Wandel said.
"As Germans, we are aware of our past. In other lands, England and Sweden, there is also Right-wing extremism. Yes, we have a special responsibility, but in the end we can't solve the problem any differently from any other country."
The mayor says that he "wishes dearly" that the neo-Nazis would go away. "But it won't. There will always be people who think this way. There will always be National Socialists."