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‘Nazi ideology is filled with terrorist spirit’

The Local · 2 Dec 2011, 16:16

Published: 02 Dec 2011 16:16 GMT+01:00

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Exit Deutschland is an initiative that helps German neo-Nazis break out of extremist circles and build a new life. The process can take years, since far-right extremists are often caught in organizations and social circles that discourage contact with mainstream society. Simply walking away is often not an option for security reasons too, so Exit sometimes cooperates with the police to provide new identities.

Once a neo-Nazi has initiated contact with Exit, there usually follows an exchange of emails and phone calls which gradually develops into meetings and counselling, designed to help the extremists “overcome their worldview” and “work through their past,” as the Exit website puts it.

The Local spoke to one man who managed to make the break. The 30-year-old from eastern Germany, who now works as a counsellor and adviser for Exit, asked to remain anonymous to avoid reprisals from neo-Nazis.

How did you fall into the far-right scene?

I already came into contact with National Socialist ideology in my childhood. When I was 12 and 13 I got into the whole sub-culture – with music and football. When I turned 16 I discovered a passion for reading, which crystallized my thoughts into an ideology. By the time I was 16 or 17 I was a convinced National Socialist, and I stayed that way until I was 28, when I dropped out of the scene. I lived by and worked for the ideology that marked the whole community.

Why did you drop out?

One day I asked myself, “Who am I and what am I doing?” I was preaching freedom but I wasn’t free myself. The paradox preoccupied me so strongly I couldn’t stand it anymore. It came to a crisis and then a break.

What was your position in the neo-Nazi scene?

I was in two National-Socialist organizations. One I co-founded, which was banned in 2005. This was dedicated mainly to youth work. Recruiting young people – politicizing them, schooling them, binding them to the scene. The other organization, called Märkische Heimatschutz (Editor's note: A far-right group in Brandenburg), was spread over several sections – it was an umbrella group for activists with about 50 or 60 members, plus the board.

What was your reaction to the revelations about far-right terrorist cells in Germany?

Bernd Wagner, director and founder of Exit, has been warning about far-right terrorism since the reunification of Germany. It was always relatively latent. Now unfortunately it’s happened, and it’s become public. Apparently people didn’t really listen. Nobody wanted a bad image of eastern Germany, or of Germany in general.

This development raises the question, “How is terrorism defined?” Does it start when you threaten families and people, or attack them physically? That’s a form of terrorism for me. The National Socialist ideology is pervaded by a terrorist spirit. It is a violent ideology – it denies other people their rights, it drives people out. Violence is a recognized instrument in the far-right scene – you are just meant to watch how, why and where you use it.

What was your experience of violence when you were a neo-Nazi?

Violence was completely normal for me as a Nazi. Even if I had personal doubts in some points, I still practised violence. That was part of my fanatical worldview. We were all like that. We saw violence as something to implement our political goals. People were constantly planning how they could get hold of chemicals, explosives and other devices. Pipe bombs were always being made. The threshold to violence, including terrorist violence, is very low.

Was there any organized training?

We practised martial arts on fields and in woods. There was tactical training too – how to break through police lines, how to pick anti-fascist protestors out of a demo and attack them. There are people who take it to a military level – getting Bundeswehr army training was encouraged. That couldn’t be displayed openly. People who boasted or gossiped about it were isolated and punished where possible. Some people went underground, but no-one fell out of the network.

Story continues below…

What do you see as the main dangers of the neo-Nazi scene?

The danger of the far-right scene doesn’t just lie in the active members – statistics that the intelligence service reports. There are far-right sympathizers who work for leading telecom providers, in local authorities, or other socially respected positions. These people provide financial support, or access to customers’ data.

How is the neo-Nazi scene developing?

The image of the neo-Nazi with the skinhead and the Doc Martens isn’t real anymore. The scene has modernized, and has started to address issues that are especially interesting to young people – anti-capitalism, anti-globalization. At the same time, they are trying to attract the centre of society. On top of that, there is a strong radicalization in the National Democratic Party (NPD). It was used by us militant National Socialists as a strategic instrument and as a protective zone.

Interview by Ben Knight

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:01 December 2, 2011 by JDee
the way the German media has being pumping out these Nazi stories the last 2 weeks ( the local included ) it increasingly looks like a psyops campaign, in which case what people should be asking themselves is what do the government want to distract the population from?
18:32 December 2, 2011 by Aravinda perera
well said JDee, this is most likely the worst thing to do but, wait and see. But honestly it is a pity for Germany to engage in American Styled Politics, employing the use of primitive fear tatics during the Bush Admin.
19:16 December 2, 2011 by storymann
It seems apparent from the revealed killings and this mans story that this organization has not been successfully infiltrated or monitored. I wonder why this is?. Surely it is no more secretive or less violent than the Chinese triads in the US.
22:36 December 2, 2011 by rwk
All this fear-mongering over violent-right wing types has come out lately, and I wonder if some of this is an attempt to make Germans act towards a pan-European debt. I.e, Germans are not happy about bailing out the PIGS from their bad management, but are very unhappy when accusations of a relapse into the Nazi era are made. Yes, I think sinister forces are at work, manipulating German public opinion.
22:44 December 2, 2011 by brnskin2010
That's because it's as the young man has said...NPD is a protective zone for neo-Nazi and were campaigning to get elected in order to carry out their plan to infiltrate the german government and bring German citizens back to the mental state of where they were during Hltler's reign. Because of the economy the germans youth don't see where they have a future, so they are adopting the ways of the United States......socialization according to race, income, and religion.....just sayn
02:07 December 3, 2011 by NarineS
agreed JDee.

this has become like Orwell's 1984 two minute daily hate..
08:35 December 3, 2011 by catjones
Had this exact story been about an Islamic cell in Germany instead, there would have been an onslaught of religious and ethic slurs; but because these in fact are german nationals, with german names and german histories the comments here look to focus blame elsewhere which is exactly why the problem exists and persists.
09:08 December 3, 2011 by AClassicRed
Catjones makes a very credible point, and if Germans or others decide to be truly honest with themselves as they always purport they are, they will acknowledge the validity of the statement.

Even so, this style of media "bombardment" unfortunately can have the opposite affect of educating the public and raising awareness, as some will react (and do) with statements such as, "There has always been such, but now they are just talking about it more..:" before they go on to point how tolerant Germany is, multicultural, etc. and that these ones are still a relatively small number among the population as a whole. Clearly, they are choosing to forget how Hitler came to power, and the mentality of the country specifically following WWI and leading up to WW2.

There are obviously careful tactics taking place to reach key offices, and manipulation of natural human tendencies and opinions, stoking them into excuses for violence and separatism, and/or apathy towards actions, speech or behavior that suggests one race is better and more deserving than another. I did an interview with a number of neo-Nazis a few years ago, and confirmed some of their feelings are certainly understandable, such as not having the country of their birth and ethnic group subsumed by foreigners, yet when you have that skewed into believing violence is the answer something is seriously wrong. Not only wrong with that thinking, but also those who dismiss or minimize it whoever they are.

Germany needs to be very careful, but Germany is not alone in having such problems. Look at Russia, look at the USA.
09:21 December 3, 2011 by LiberalGuy

I don't always agree with your views but you are spot on there.
10:15 December 3, 2011 by raandy
You can not equate the problems here in Germany with the USA. The USA is an immigrant nation and has always had to deal with people coming in from other lands in large numbers with different cultures. It is constantly adjusting to new groups.

Germany has only recently been more open to immigration from outside it's borders. This so called Nazi, skinhead, hate and discontent ,xenophobic group is principled on keeping Germany pure and free of of immigrants. There are many here that agree with the anti immigration attitude towards foreigners even though they detest these skin heads.
19:56 December 3, 2011 by Loth
You tube has some of Hitlers speeches translated into English subtitles. It surprised me that much of Hitlers rants were about the same Banksters that have caused so much trouble today. I even agreed with some of what he said. I am assuming that the translation was correct and not fake. Of course Hitler was complaining a lot about the way German was treated after ww1.
20:10 December 3, 2011 by gorongoza
"The danger of the far-right scene doesn¦#39;t just lie in the active members ­ statistics that the intelligence service reports. There are far-right sympathizers who work for leading telecom providers, in local authorities, or other socially respected positions. These people provide financial support, or access to customers¦#39; data."

After this kind of revelation I presume there will be no more idiots left to continue discussing this issue of neo Nazis. By continuously discussing this issue you give the swine pulling the strings of these neo Nazis a feeling that nobody knows of their existence and hence they are well concealled.

Who is fooling who? Wake up people , this country is an island on this globe; has`nt that rang a bell to you?
10:45 December 5, 2011 by LecteurX
@ Catjones - spot on. Just look at the comments on "Gigantic baby 'Jihad'" and how gladly everybody indulges in muslim-bashing there.
18:19 December 9, 2011 by McNair Kaserne
LecteurX, Islam and Western Civilization/values are incompatible. It's just that simple. I find it amazing how many people there are who think of themselves as progressive or socialist that defend an ideology that treats women as the property of men, be it their father/brothers or their husband. Serious logical disconnect there.
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