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Neo-Nazis resort to subtler tactics

DDP/The Local · 15 Mar 2010, 08:33

Published: 15 Mar 2010 08:33 GMT+01:00

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According to Burkhard Freier, the deputy head of North Rhine-Westphalia's Verfassungsschutz agency, right-wing extremists are no longer seeking open confrontation. Instead some are attempting to seduce the middle class with their ideology behind closed doors.

Agitation, public appearances and advertising have become “significantly more subtle” and therefore harder to recognise, Freier told daily Neue Westfälische on Monday.

Security experts believe there are signs that neo-Nazis are “eating more crow,” Freier told the paper, explaining that they have taken to targeting young people.

“They're now hiding the dehumanising messages at first,” he said.

Tactics include beginning with a discussion of welfare benefits and globalisation, and end with racist ideology against foreigners, in particular Muslims and Jews, he said.

Story continues below…

Representations of the group online have also become more modern, he warned, saying that they are making efforts to avoid being “immediately recognisable.”

This translates to wearing less conspicuous clothing too, he said.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:49 March 15, 2010 by majura
It's like the scientologists on their recruiting drives around town (Berlin). Rather than state openly who they are and their hard-to-swallow policies, all you ever see is 'dianetics' and 'free stress test'.
10:34 March 15, 2010 by mixxim
Were national socialists right wing or left wing? Extremists are always sinister but in a democracy everyone has a right to his view. As some moslems have alienated many others it is hardly surprising that they might support a party that is against them. If a new party were formed to oppose nonsensical christian fundamentalism and hypocracy perhaps they would also win some votes. At present it would seem that any insane party from communism to religious nonsense can escape being marginalised but so called right wing parties are given the label of an old german 'socialist' party.
11:18 March 15, 2010 by dbert4
"Tactics include beginning with a discussion of welfare benefits and globalisation, and end with racist ideology against foreigner, in particular Muslims and Jews, he said."

Wow, sounds like the Republican party in the US!
15:26 March 15, 2010 by Henckel
@ mixxim: On a continuum, National Socialists (NSDAP) were left-wing, but to the right of the Socialists (SPD), Communists (KPD) and Anarchists. That is one reason for the intense, deadly enmity between the NSDAP and KPD: they each looked upon the other as in some sense renegades from the 'pure" leftist cause. (I'm a historian in the US whose direct ancestors emigrated from Germany in 1879, but I did have relatives who participated in the Third Reich.)
15:42 March 15, 2010 by ironman294

You are wrong and obviously a brainwashed lefty liberal.

If the liberal democrats were in charge during the Reagan years the Soviet Union would still be around and the Iron Curtain in full effect.

But I suspect you would like that seeing as how lefty liberals are socialists and communists themselves.
16:14 March 15, 2010 by dbert4
That king of dementia, Ronald Reagan had much less to do with the demise of the former USSR than you Republican types would like the world to believe.

He began the destructive polices which when continued by boy Bush has brought the world and appropriately the US to the point of destruction.

But hey, believe what you want....you're obviously a Republican and as we know, reality plays no role in your lack of understanding.
16:53 March 15, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Ok just to correct the sometimes painful stupidity; the Nazis, despite the name misnomer, were a State Capitalist party, thereby making them an ultra-right wing party, and not leftist or socialist in any sense of the word.

Secondly, if the NPD is the only one willing to say No to Turkey being a full EU member, then maybe they *should* get a few seats.
17:14 March 15, 2010 by Talonx
Henckel, I really do have to disagree with your statement that the NSDAP is left-wing. I would first ask, in comparison to what? The spectrum of any country is defined by the context of its history, and when the Nazi party was running they were as far right as you could get. In 1919 they were already a right-wing conservative force well known in Munich, i.e., they were decidedly in favor of monarchical power-structures and administration. They had set themselves up as 'the german workers party (DAP)' an alternative labour party to the many left-wing parties in munich of that era. The climate when the DAP was formed in Bavaria was decidedly anti-left as a result of the 100 day indigenous-communist take-over (put down by the Freicorp, members of which would later join the Nazis). They wanted to expand out and tried to make themselves look apolitical by renaming themselves the 'national socialist german workers party (NSDAP)', the term 'national socialist' in this era was especially paradoxical as socialism was concieved of as an internationalist political movement. They certainly interested some of the left to come out to their first meeting as the NSDAP, but there plan didn't work as they, almost simultaneous to renaming themselves, began talking about securing 'lebensraum' for a third empire (this is the monarchical conservativism coming back in here). Lebensraum meant war and nobody on the left wanted any more of that.

I don't know were this new ignorance of the last five years is coming from. I've seen a few Glenn Beck shows and it blows my mind that he and the crew at Fox gets away with comparing Nazi conservativism to progressivism. Mind blowing.

I can only echo Stephen Colbert, saying that the Nazis are in any way 'left' because they include 'socialism' in their name is like calling the U.S. Republican party communist because China is called 'the Republic of China'.
18:09 March 15, 2010 by Henckel
@ Talonx: As I said, on a continuum the NSDAP was to the right of the KPD, SPD, etc. And while the NSDAP promoted conservative family values, they also favored a leftist-style corporative state like that of Italy. Remember, there were dedicated lefties in the NSDAP -- most of whom were killed in the 1934 purge

(e.g., Ernst Roehm and Gregor Strasser) because they wanted the party to move farther to the left. Otto Strasser left the NSDAP and led a splinter group before going into exile, but to the end of his life he considered himself a left-leaning National Socialist.

There were plans, too in 1944 for the renovation of the Wehrmacht (in the event of a German victory) on strict idealogical lines like the Red Army as a "People's Army" (Volksheer). This actually happened postwar in East Germany, with many ex-NSDAPers co-opted into the Nazional Volksarmee (NVA).
18:33 March 15, 2010 by Talonx
Henckel, I would agree if you were to say Röhm and Strasser were left in comparison to the general Nazi milieu, but to claim that the Nazi's were Left or that Röhm compared to others in Germany's political environment was Left (or even in Europe at that time) is a stretch beyond and confuses the point.

You didn't even mention this but it's worth reviewing, certainly, under Drexler things are a bit more confused, but even under Drexler in 1919 the DAP was against any sort of internationalism and though he was against monarchy his opinions wouldn't matter by 1921 (even before that it's not like his ideas were gaining in popularity or as if people were joing due to his speeches). Hitler, as you must well know abhored 'socialism' and didn't initially like the new name (NSDAP). Hitler as well had monarchist leanings (as seen in his initial correspondances with Kahr in Munich) and much later with the christening of 'Dritte Reich' and his decry that he was 'der Fuhrer'. Leftism in this time-period (even outside of Germany mind you) was about progressive decentralization, even what Stalin and Lenin reeped was a decentralization (context context) compared to the conservative preservation of monarchical relations, old-family values, and views on citizenship/peasantship of Hitler and his crew.

As for the renovation of the Wehrmacht, like the original party name and even the modified party name (and my point about the People's Republic of China) using a terminology does not make the root of said terminology the case.

As for your claims concerning ex-NSDAPers in the DDR, I can only implore you to consider the context, once again. Firstly, Compared to West Germany, incorporated NSDAPers were minimal and the renovation into a Red Army-like entity is of course going to happen in a communist nation (if it happened in West Germany, you would have me convinced, but it didn't).

Overall, the argument we are having is academic, it's the seeming absolutism of your spectral judgements I guess I'm not comfortable with.

I think we could agree though, that considering left and right, it would confuse the layman, in any case to view the NSDAP as Leftist. Please god, retire your protestations to academic circles and stop feeding the idiots that watch Glenn Beck (or Beck for that matter).
19:03 March 15, 2010 by mixxim
It seems that the use of linear comparisons might be the failing point. If we use a circle there is little difference between communist extremists and NPD extremists. (except their haircuts of course) Both use bully boy tactics against opposition, both might use terror tactics, Hitler and Stalin both committed mass genocide (Stalin moreso) Mrs Thatcher, managed to destroy more of British industry than Hitler but her extreme right wing policies were intended to benefit the individual rather than the public and unlike the 'right wing' neo nazis she attempted to lessen state control. Gordon Brown's Labour gang on the other hand have tried to control nearly every aspect of private life (rather like messrs Hitler and Stalin),
19:21 March 15, 2010 by Talonx
Classically speaking (poltiical science), the modes run like this:

Authoritarian - Libertarian

Conservative (right) - Progressive (left)

and sometimes,

individualism -collectivism

Regardless, these designations (this is my view) are meaningless without a historical background to compare against. The Nazis were an authoritarian conservative collectivist political organization. The Soviets were an authoritarian (though in context, one could argue libertarian in comparison to the royals) progressive collectivist political organization.

Mixxim, I don't see how a circle would help to delineate the two. And demonizing modern politicians by resorting to ad nazium or ad commydum attacks doesn't seem to lead to any productive lines of thought.
21:02 March 15, 2010 by wxman
There's Talonx spouting his party line baloney again. I suppose he'll do so until everyone believes him. History lesson: All socialist societies are totalitarian; where the citizen's rights are sub-servient to the State. Second, Reagan started the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars, to all you condescending leftists) in a deliberate effort to bankrupt the Soviets. It worked. The failed USSR just didn't have the scratch to play the game anymore, folded and went home. Gorby, in classic leftist fashion, did his best to jump in front of the parade to make off as though he were leading it.
21:02 March 15, 2010 by Edmond Schindler
@Talonx: What about a distilled version of your argument?

I will show my ignorance here: I thought this was an English version of a German paper, but this has been so over my head, even after rereading the comments multiple times. I'm beginning to think it isn't English but Greek.

Impressive but without a lay mans legend it's wasted on me. Too bad really, I would like to understand.
23:08 March 15, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, based upon everthing I have personally observed, Germans and other Europeans citizens are more conservative than the leaders of their respective governments. How did this happen?

Shouldn't a national government lead and make decisions that are based upon the people they represent? French and Dutch citizens voted againist joining the EU and yet were forced to take it anyway.

Ok, Europeans don't want Nazis controlling their national governments. I understand. How about a Moral-Conservative style of government? It appears that this is what most European and American citizens want. We may as well try it, because no other form of government has ever produced consistent, stable prosperity.
00:55 March 16, 2010 by peschvogel
So is this rise in the Natinalist Socialistic party more towards die linke with the woman with the funny hair or more towards the right, like Westerwelle? I think there is a rise of this movement in Germany. With no jobs, brain drain, population crash in the east, social welfare system going away, bankrupt banks, no leadership (where is Merkel?), demographics, 1.3 fertility rate, spying scandals, church scandals, nobody trusting each other, police state, taxes going higher, privitization & decentralization of govt agencies (train, schools, hospitals, healthcare), I can see how these folks are becoming popular. Schlim
02:07 March 16, 2010 by Talonx
Wxman, you really are just clueless, I would tell you what my actual political orientation is, but then you would switch to attacking that. Anything, but the actual argument is a target for you.

Edmond, the argument that Henckel and I are having, in my opinion is academic (i.e.one for a university classroom and not for laymen). Generally speaking there are perhaps two schools of thought when it comes to defining political movements. The school I adhere to has to do with the political climate of the time and the history of that climate. The school Henckel adheres to (unless I've misunderstood him) is one of absolutes in which the history and political climate do not matter. From my view this is sort of like saying that politics is independent of history or political climate. From Henckel's view my view would deny direct comparisons across time. Ultimately, my point was that for the general population, who just want straight facts, labeling the Nazis as 'rightest' and the Soviets as 'leftists' agrees most with a compromise of our arguments and entering into an academic discussion as we did on the issue would only confuse and hinder the developing conception of those not entirely familiar with the whole issue. Simply put, when you teach a child physics you teach them Newtons Theory of Gravity before Einsteins Relativity and Quantum Mechanincs, even though Newton is somewhat imprecise the general point is true.

Henckel, I would like to hear if you agree with my summary.

Mixxim, it would be cool if you could explain the circle thing.

Peschvogel, they aren't becoming popular in Germany, the point of the article was that they use new tactics.
03:05 March 16, 2010 by saucymugwump
wxman wrote: Reagan started the Strategic Defense Initiative in a deliberate effort to bankrupt the Soviets

Reagan had no intentions of bankrupting anyone. He believed that nuclear war was to be avoided and that SDI was morally quite different than launching missiles. He told Gorbachev that the USA would share SDI technology with the Soviets. Gorbachev countered by saying that the USA was not sharing dairy technology or any other kind of technology, so the premise that the USA would share SDI technology was highly suspect.

If anyone other than Gorbachev had been in power from 1985 on, e.g. Andropov, the Soviet Union would not have collapsed. Gorbachev was unwilling to machine gun his comrades and had said so many times, even before the UN. When a repressive government is unwilling to use force to retain its power, it falls.

Try actually reading some history instead of spouting the Fox News party line. The latest book to address this issue is "Dead Hand" by David Hoffman, but there are many more.
07:41 March 16, 2010 by ColoSlim
Sounds like they have been taking pointers from Amway. I see this as positive because it shows that Germans in general are adverse to their cause and see them in a negative way. Hence the moresubdued tactics.
10:52 March 16, 2010 by Gaffers
I love the fact that people start attacking each other on here about politics and even worse politics from nearly 30 years ago. To be honest any country that is controlled by right wing religious extremists should not influence world politics either. It's just a different kind of fundamentalism which causes rifts in societies.

Guys, you only go to prove that there is no hope in this world when two people start attacking each other over something so trivial. Seriously grow up, add something positive to the world or leave it. Can't we all just get along and be nice to each other?

Secondly it doesn't matter if the Nazis were left wing, right wing or played in goal. They were evil, are evil and will always remain evil. Pigeon holing them detracts from what they are by giving them a politic identity which is what they want.
11:05 March 16, 2010 by Talonx
Gaffers, I understand your sentiments, but check this analogy, should we not worry about the roots of pedophilia? should we only concern ourselves with labeling such people as evil and never with understanding and prevention?

I think it does matter what the Nazis were.

By the way, the Nazis actually didn't want a public political identity they tried to pass themselves off as apolitical to the public (it didn't work though, nor did it matter).
11:46 March 16, 2010 by Gaffers
I think an analogy to paedophilia isn't relevant here and I don't want to go off topic discussing whether it's nature or nurture etc.

So for arguments Stalin was left wing, Hitler Right wing, Mussolini Right wing, China today left wing etc. etc.

So, no it doesn't matter what they were. Evil comes from all areas. Labels don't prevent it or help eliminate it. I would label certain recent governments in Western culture as evil. Causing death for personal gain. Knowing which way they lean politically makes no difference as it is down to the individuals that are involved. If history teaches us anything it's that it is money, power or intolerance that brings conflict and not political stances. These are covers for the real causes.

If the Nazis were apolitical why did they get into power? that's politics by default...
12:19 March 16, 2010 by Talonx
I said nothing of nature or nurture, I said that figuring something out can lead to control of that something, in a nutshell. You missed the analogy.

Evil itself is a label an undefinable label, I prefer to simply say 'they were wrong' and figure out why so it doesn't happen again.

I didn't say they were apolitical, I said they tried to build themselves among public perceptions as apolitical.
13:40 March 16, 2010 by Eastard

I get up in the morning in the US to read a European newspaper (The Local) where I particularly enjoy the quality of the comments debate... The writers intelligently debate and agree to disagree... Seldom to they reduce themselves to comment attack... I don't read US papers because of the almost constant attack (low quality information). After 57 years of reading from all over the world, I can tell you something... When a significant topic is debated between opponents.. the LOOSER is ALWAYS the one who starts comment attack.... 100% of the time.. Advice... Maintain your view and listen... think about what the other person said... and enjoy the difference. Disagree without attack and your message will remain... Good Luck.
14:40 March 16, 2010 by saucymugwump
Talonx wrote: Classically speaking (poltiical science), the modes run like this: Authoritarian - Libertarian

This is a poor example. Libertarians believe that capitalism should be unfettered. We saw this manifested with the Pullman Palace Car Company in the late 1800s. George Pullman was the ultimate control freak. He prohibited independent newspapers, public speeches, town meetings or private charitable organizations. When his business suffered in the panic of 1893-1894, he reduced wages but did not lower the rents in his company town. The workers were squeezed and rioted in the Pullman Strike of 1894. A national commission formed to study the strike found Pullman's company town to be un-American. When Pullman died, he was buried at night in a lead-lined coffin within a steel-reinforced concrete vault to prevent his body from being exhumed and desecrated by labor activists.

Libertarians want authoritarianism to be transferred from the government to the private sector. Ayn Rand is the poster girl for Libertarians. See my blog entry describing the relationship between Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan, and a 1920s child killer at http://saucymugwump.blogspot.com/2009/11/alan-greenspan-ayn-rand-and-child.html.

Eastard wrote: the LOOSER is ALWAYS the one who starts comment attack

By the way, the correct word to use in your sentence is "loser." "Looser" is the word to use when telling your tailor that you want your pants to be roomier. I still find it shocking that Europeans generally know when to use lose/loose, to/too/two, and its/it's, while most Americans appear to have slept through English class. And don't even get me started about punctuation.
16:03 March 16, 2010 by Henckel
@ Talonx: Yes, I agree with your basic summary, and also that the question is essentially academic. It's one where we may have to agree to disagree since there are no easy or clear-cut answers. The gripe I tend to have with leftists is that they have a tendency to portray the NSDAP as rightist in a meanner to mislead the many who are unaware of the academic question involved. Of course, the same might be said of the portrayal of the NSDAP as leftist by certain commentators on the right (e.g., Glenn Beck and Michael Savage).

By the way, Joseph Goebbels was leaning toward the pro-left wing of the NSDAP (led by Gregor Strasser) until he actually met Hitler. Thereafter, Goebbels and his wife Magda were intensely loyal to whatever policy changes Hitler made, finally killing their children and committing suicide rather than live in a world without Hitler. There, again, the intense passions involved make clear-cut answers as to idealogy and motivation difficult.
16:03 March 16, 2010 by dbert4
"most Americans appear to have slept through English class."

Do you really consider Americans to be English speakers and writers?
17:02 March 16, 2010 by Gaffers
Americans do speak a variation of English (albeit an ugly deformed version). In fairness (and I can't believe I'm defending the Americans) the standard of English grammar and punctuation in Britain today is actually just as appalling exhibiting the same faults from people that were mentioned above.
18:11 March 16, 2010 by Talonx
saucymugwump, the sense that libertarian is used for the 'authoritarian-libertarian' modal dichotomy is not the same sense that it is used to decsribe 'Libertarianism'. The sense that I am using could be applied to anarchists just as well, that is, it is independent of beliefs regarding capital.

Henckel, I strongly agree with you regarding the discomfort that idiots bring to the table when the resort to calling someone on the right a Nazi or someone on the left a Commi. It's even scarier when someone like Beck convolves the two into one entity and throws the label around willy-nilly at anyone he doesn't like.
23:00 March 16, 2010 by wxman
Suacymugwump, there was no Fox News in 1985 to tell me what I knew as a USAF officer in SAC. Fox News didn't arrive till a decade later. I experienced these events first hand; you read your slanted history books all you want. I had first-hand experience as this situation unfolded.
23:47 March 16, 2010 by Talonx
wxman, because western and eastern governments were (are?) completely honest about everything they were (are?) doing with their officers. You were quite literally a tool of the armed forces in the cold war(terminology not meant to be an insult), nothing you knew was correct.

Gorby did far more for democracy and social justice than any politicians that came before him in Russia and far more than the battered legacy Reagan left behind in the form of economic misery and social inequality. 'Tear down this wall', he said not just of die Mauer, but as well the Iron Curtain alltogether. His metaphorical speech apparently wasn't self-applicable.
16:52 March 17, 2010 by Thames
In short: Neo-Nazi=BAD!!
23:11 March 18, 2010 by wxman
Talonx, I don't mean our back and forth to be necessarily confrontational, simply informative from both our perspectives. You seem to be fairly reasonable in your responses, for the most part. We'll confront again, I'm sure.
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