The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/z/zaprasis.illias/skins-germany


Newsgroups: alt.skinheads,alt.politics.white-power,alt.politics.nationalism.white,soc.culture.german
Subject: ADL: Skinhead International; Germany
Summary: The ADL's "Skinhead International: A Worldwide Survey
         of Neo-Nazi Skinheads"
Followup-To: alt.skinheads

Archive/File: pub/orgs/american/adl/skinhead-international/skins-
Last-Modified: 1995/08/26

The violence that erupted in Germany over the past several
years brought to public attention the neo-Nazi Skinheads, a
group previously regarded as only a fringe segment of the
youth scene. Operating as lossely knit gangs of juvenile
thugs, their menacing presence has been noted in communities
throughout the recently united country. They have swelled the
ranks of right-wing street demonstrators, acted as security
guards for neo-Nazi meetings and served as a ready reservoir
for extremist agitators to tap for attacks on so-called aliens
in German society. From the riotous assaults on foreigners in
Hoyerswerda in 1991 to the waves of firebombings and beatings
that have followed to this day, the Skinheads have been the
main attack dogs.

                    Molotov Cocktails

September 17, 1991 - Skinheads armed with clubs, rocks and
Molotiv cocktails attacked a building in Hoyerswerda, an
eastern city that housed about 150 foreigners, mostly from
Vietnam and Mozambique. Hundreds of local residents gathered
to cheer the Skinheads and resist attempts by police to quell
the rampage. The assault and public demonstrations of support
continued for days, ultimately ending on September 23, with
the evacuation of the besieged housing unit.

August 22-28, 1992 - Rostock, in eastern Germany, was the
scene of several nights of Skinhead violence against a hostel
housing 200 asylum seekers (mainly Gypsies) and 150 Vietnamese
guest workers. The hostel was partially destroyed by the 150
attacking Skinheads, who were openly encouraged by at least
500 cheering residents. Authorities evacuated the asylum
seekers on August 24, and the guest workers fled as the
building was being torched. Once again, violence rewarded the
Skinheads with victory; the Interior Minister of
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the state in which Rostock is
located, was subsequently dismissed for having failed to
immediately order the police to quell the riot.

November 13, 1992 - Two Skinheads in Wuppertal (in the state
of North Rhine-Westphalia) kicked and burned to death a man
they mistakenly thought was Jewish, after the owner of the bar
in which the victim and perpetrators were drinking shouted,
"Jew! You must go to Auschwitz. Auschwitz must reopen! Jews
must burn!" The Skinheads kicked the victim until he lost
consciousness, poured schnapps on him and set him on fire. He
died of internal injuries while the Skinheads drove to the
Netherlands in the victim's car, where they dumped the body.
In February 1994, the two Skinheads and the bar owner were
convicted of murder and given sentences of 14, 8 and 10 years,
respectively.

                     Child Killing

November 23, 1992 - Two Skinheads, aged 19 and 25, firebombed
two houses in Moelln, Schleswig-Holstein, killing a Turkish
woman, her 10-year-old granddaughter, and 14-year-old niece.
Several others were severely injured. The perpetrators
telephoned the police station and announced, "There's a fire
in the Ratzeburger Strasse. Heil Hitler!" They made an
identical call to the fire brigade regarding the second
address. Michael Peters and Lars Christiansen were tried and
convicted in December 1993, and sentenced to life
imprisonment, and 10 years, respectively.[1]

May 29, 1993 - Four Skinheads were charged with setting fire
to a home in Solingen, North Rhine-Westphalia, killing five
Turkish citizens. Three girls, aged 4, 9 and 12, and an
18-year-old woman, died in the flames. Another victim, a
27-year-old woman, died of injuries suffered when she leaped
from a window. Ten others were injured. Neighbors reported
hearing the arsonists shout "Heil Hitler!" The Skinheads were
indicted for murder, attempted murder, and arson. Their trial
began in April 1994 and was expected to continue for many
months.

October 29, 1993 - A group of Skinheads chanting, "Nigger
out!" attacked members of the American Olympic luge team
training in Oberhof, Thuringia, after a confrontation in a
nearby discotheque. Two of the attackers were convicted in
January 1994. One was sentenced to one year, the other to two
years and eight months. A third was placed on probation for
two years.

March 25, 1994 - A synagogue was firebombed in the northern
port city of Luebeck. No injuries were reported, but the
synagogue was badly damaged. Four right-wing extremists,
ranging in age from 19 to 24, were placed under arrest. While
three of them were found guilty of arson and the fourth of
complicity in the fire-bombing, they were acquitted of
attempted murder even though people were in the synagogue at
the time. They were given sentences ranging from two and a
half to four and a half years. (Arsonists again attacked the
Luebeck synagogue on the night of May 6, 1995, even as
elsewhere commemorations of the 50th anniversay of the Nazi
surrender in World War II were beginning. Among the ceremonies
was a rededication in Berlin - attended by more than 2,000
people, including German Chancellor Helmut Kohl - of a major
synagogue destroyed during the war.)

May 12, 1994 - A mob of about 150 youths rampaged against
foreigners in Magdeburg, an eastern German city. They beat
five Africans on a downtown street and then chased them into a
Turkish-owned cafe where four of the assailants were stabbled
by cafe employees. Forty-nine rioters - described by police as
drunken hooligans and Skinheads - were arrested and release in
a few hours. Officials said they were not sure they had enough
evidence to bring charges. Four days later charges were
finally brought against a 19-year-old, identified as a
ringleader of the riot and head of a local neo-nazi group of
about 80 members. Commenting on this event, Germany's
then-President Richard von Weizsaecker said: "It is hard to
understand how, as we see from television pictures, hoodlums
or right-wing extremists can charge through the streets,
breaking windows and attacking people, and then 50 or more are
arrested, but that same night they're all released."
Eventually, a number of additional suspects were prosecuted;
nine were sentenced to prison or juvenile terms ranging from
14 months to three and a half years.

July 23, 1994 - Twenty-two neo-Nazi Skinheads desecrated the
memorial grounds at the site of the former Buchenwald
concentration camp. Arriving by bus from the nearby towns of
Erfurt and Gera, the Skinheads ran wild, throwing stones and
chanting Nazi slogans. They threatened to set on fire a woman
staffer who tried to stop them. When the police arrived, they
interrogated the group and released all but one. Criticizing
this tepid police response, Ignatz Bubis, the chairman of the
Central Council of Jews in Germany, said: "The way the
authorities have handled this case and others is an open
invitation to repeat the vandalism." Two of the police
officials were subsequently suspended, three others were
scheduled for disciplinary action, and the rampaging youths
were re-arrested. In October, the leader of the Skinhead gang
was sentenced to 20 months in jail and five others, all
minors, recied suspended sentences or fines.

September 1994 - Sachsenhausen, the former Nazi concentration
camp in Oranienburg, has been repeatedly vandalized. The camp
is maintained as a memorial to the victims of Nazi barbarism.
Four Skinheads were caught there on September 2 shouting Nazi
slogans. Earlier, guards found Nazi swastikas painted on camp
property. On September 4, the unused bakery on the campsite
burned down. Previously, a hut containing an exhibit about the
Holocaust was destroyed.

                   Passengers Assaulted

These are among the more dramatic events that have been
reported with shock and horror, but numerous other acts of
violence have occured and - at a lesser pace - continue to
take place to this day: assaults on individuals, brawls in
youth centers, attacks on homes and businesses. For example,
in October 1994, a gang of some 20 Skinheads boarded a
streetcar in Berlin and severely assaulted passengers they
believed were foreigners. The following months, police in
Hanau, near Frankfurt, broke up a Skinhead gang of 20 who were
suspected of attacking goreigners, a handicapped person and a
former synagogye. Seized by police in their raid on the gang
were guns, ammunition and banned Nazi propaganda. Two of those
arrested were suspected of manufacturing homemade bombs. The
gang had links to banned neo-Nazi organizations including the
Viking Youth.

According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the
Consitution (Bundesamt fuer Verfassungsschutz), the number of
violent right-wing extremists in 1993 was about 5,600, many of
them Skinheads. This was a decline from the 1992 estimate of
of 6,400. In 1993, Skinheads also constituted a large
proportion of those who perpetrated 2,232 acts of right-wing
violence, including seven homocides and 20 attempted
homocides. The comparable 1992 figures were 2,639 violent acts
and 18 homocides. The numbers, while showing some improvement,
are still shockingly high.

                    Anti-Jewish Crime

Most of the bigoted violence has been directed against
foreigners, especially Turns, but Jews have increasingly
become a favorite target. The number of criminal offenses
motivated by proven or suspected anti-Semitism in 1994 was
881, an increase of 34 percent over the previous year's
figures. Sixty-one of these were acts of violence. (In a
separate tally, the German office on crime (BKA) estimated
that there were 934 anti-Jewish incidents - 64 of them violent
- during 1994.) Although there were 11 fewer anti-Jewish acts
of violence in 1994 than in 1993, the total number of criminal
acts against Jews in Germany has risen steadily over the past
five years, from 208 in 1990 to 656 in 1993 and 881 in 1994.
And the perpetrators tend to be young: Fifty-six percent of
those suspected of committing violent acts of an extreme-right
nature (including attacks against Jews, foreigners and
political opponents) were under the age of 21.

The Skinhead lifestyle tends to revolve around gang
activities. Criminal citations and jail terms are considered
by many to be badges of honor and proofs of courage. Drunken
sprees of random violence are routine. "Party until you drop"
is the Skinhead jargon for the nightly drinking bouts which
often end in the street as the Skins rove in packs looking for
victims. "We stand totally drunk in our filth" runs the
opening line of a popular Skinhead song by the Band Boehse
Onkelz (Evil Uncles).[2] The song celebrates the numbed state
of the participants who, even when arrested, continue their
"manly" carousing in their cells.


                     "Doitsche Musik"

The single greatest influence on Skinheads is their music. It
bonds them, voices their alienation, and glorifies them as
defenders of German honor, while reviling foreigners, Jews,
homosexuals, and the left. The lyrics of "Doitsche Musik" (a
play on "Deutsche" and "oi") by the band Tonstoerung (Sound
Disturbance) are graphic:

	Sharpen your knife on the sidewalk,
	let the knife slip into the Jew's body
	Blood must flow
	and we shit on the freedom of this Jew republic....
	oiling the guillotine with the Jew's far.

Until a recent government crackdown, much of the music had an
openly Nazi hue, raising up the image of a new storm trooper
as the political soldier of the white race. Stoerkraft
(Disturbing Force), one of the most influential of these bands
before abandoning neo-Nazism, had applauded the Skinheads as
the hard and merciless exemplars of the racial elite:

	He's a Skinhead and a fascist
	He has a bald head and is a racist
	He has no moral and no heart
	The features of his face are made of hatred
	He loves war and he loves violence
	And if you are his enemy, he will kill you.

Another band, Radikahl (word paly on "radical" and "bald"),
recorded the song "Swastika," whose lyrics call for bestowing
on Hitler the Nobel Prize. Volkszorn (People's Wrath) employs
as a song title the slogan of Hitler's SA in their street
battles, "Rotfront Verrecke" ("Smash the Red Front"). Other
bands take their names directly from the National Socialist
period: Werwolf, Sturmtrupp, Legion Condor (the German air
unit that operated during the Spanish Civil War) and Kraft
Durch Froide (an "oi" play on Strength Through Joy - the
slogan of the Nazi labor service). At rock concerts, Skinhead
crowds whipped into a frenzy often erupt into delirious shouts
of "Seig Heil."

                      Racist Records

At present, more than 50 Skinhead bands are known to exist in
Germany, as well as any number of smaller, amateur groups.
Reflecting its subculture status, however, Skinhead music is
largely an underground phenomenon. Record and cassette
production and sales have mainly been handled through private
fimrs such as Rock-O-Rama, located near Cologne; Skull Records
in Bad Ueberkingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg; and Rebelles
Europeens in Brest, France. In February 1993, Rock-O-Rama, the
largest producer of such recordings, was raided by German
police who confiscated about 30,000 CD's, tapes and records.
The firm has since been cautious about the materials it
handles.

Skinhead concerts are advertised through word of mouth and
their locations revealed selectively, in part to prevent
disruption by the left or banning by the police.[3] These
concerts cometimes conclude in a rampage, as the Skinheads,
flushed with alcohol, run wild. Following one such event in
Cottbus, where 600 Skinheads listened to Stoerkraft, Radikahl,
and the visiting British band Skrewdriver, a mini-riot
ensured. Drunken revelers spilling out of an open air concert
in Massen in October 1992, trashed the stores in the area and
assaulted a bus load of Polish tourists. In August 1993,
police banned a scheduled concert in Pritzerbe, confiscating a
veritable arsenal of weapons from angry Skinheads who had
gathered to party and afterwards "flatten a Turk." Shortly
before that, some 700 to 900 persons attended a concert in
Prieros, Brandenburg, where they heard the German bands
Frontal, Brutale Haie, Elbstrum, and the British band Close
Shave. In July 1994, still another such concert was attended
by 900 right-wing extremists in Rudersdorf, near Berlin.

Until 1989, the "Fascho bands," as they are sometimes called,
were confined to West Germany. After the collapse of the
repressive Communist regime, a number of east German bands
made their appearance. The first major concert was held in
Nordhausen in 1990 under the auspices of Torsten Heise of the
neo-Nazi group, the Free German Workers Party (FAP).[4] A year
later, fuel was added to the fire when the British band
Skrewdriver toured the area encouraging the formation of local
bands. One of the first organized was Volkszorn (People's
Wrath) in the town of Bruchsal, Baden-Wuerttemberg. Their
tape, "Blood and Honor," which likened the Skinheads to the
brown shirts, was an instant hit.

Among the most influential Skin bands presently active are:
Brutale Haie ("Brutal Sharks" - from Erfurt, Thuringia); Blut
und Ehre ("Blood and Honor" - Ludwigsburg,
Baden-Wuerttemberg); Endstufe ("Final Stage" - Bremen),
Triebtaeter ("Rapist" - Mutlangen); Oithanasie (word play on
"oi" and "euthanasia" - Gera, Thuringia); Legion Condor
(Radevormwald, North Rhine-Westphalia), Landser (East Berlin),
Sturmtrupp (Neuberg, Bavaria), Noie Werte (Stuttgart). The
bands from the new German states are noted for their
particularly brutal, racist and xenophobic songs.

                        Skinzines

There are at least 60 skinzines in circulation, the majority
printed in western Germany. Under names like _Panzerfaust_ (a
WWII anti-tank weapon), _Shock Troops_ and _White Storm_, they
offer interviews with Skinhead bands, lists of favorite
recordings, song lyrics, poems and cartoons. Inflammatory
accounts of street battles and firebombings are printed with
the admonition: "The good deeds must go on." A poem, "Hitler's
House," published in the Coburg zine _Clockwork Orange_, ends
with the words: "Some day the world will realize that Adolf
Hitler was right."

Other neo-Nazi skinzines are _Agressive_, _Der Patriot_, _Der
Skinhead_, _Der Sturm_ (Storm), _Endsieg_ (Final Victory),
_Eisenschadel_ (Iron Skull), _Erwache_ (Wake Up), _Glorreiche
Taten_ (Glorious Deeds), _Hass und Gewalt (Hatred and Force),
_Heimafront_ (Home Front), _Kahlschlag_ (Skin-Blow), _Macht
und Ehre_ (Might and Honor), _Nahkampf_ (Close Combat),
_Nordwind_ (North Wind), _Proiszens Gloria_ (Prussian Glory,
misspelled to play on "oi"), _Querschlaeger_ (Ricochet),
_Schlachtruf_ (Battle Cry), _Unterm Kroiz_ (Under the Cross,
with a play on "oi"), _White Power_, and _Zeitbombe_ (Time
Bomb). Also popular in German Skinhead circles is the Swedish
publication _Storm_, a virulently anti-Semitic skinzine.

                          Flux

The zine situation - like the Skin scene in general - is
somewhat in flux, a consequence of a crackdown on 12 of them
in six states in July 1993. Among staffers taken into custody
were Markus Dierchen of _Proiszens Gloria_, Berlin; Carsten
Szczepanski of _United Skins_, Brandenburg; Andre Sacher and
Angelika Teppich of _Angriff Uslar_, Lower Saxony; Silvia
Berish of _Midgard_, Lower Saxony; Harals Mehr of _Donner
Verstand_, North Rhine-Westphalia; Ilias Zaprasis of _Anhalt
Attacke_, Saxony-Anhalt; and Marco Callies of _Schlagstock_,
Schleswig-Holstein.

Ironically, one of the strongest influences on the German
Skinhead scene is the American racist movement. English
phrases like "White Power" and "White Aryan Resistance" (WAR)
are a part of the German Skins' vocabulary. The Confederate
flag and Ku Klux Klan imagery are also popular, although
attempts to organize the Klan in Germany have met with a
feeble response. The most influential American source of hate
literature is Gary Lauck's Nebraska-bvased NSDAP-AO (National
Socialist German Workers Party - Overseas Organization).
Particularly popular among Skinheads are his swastika stickers
with racist anti-foreigner slogans. British bands and zines
are also influential among the German skins.

Revisionist pamphlets denouncing the Holocaust as a fraud are
eagerly read by Skinheads. Two such tracts are "The Leuchter
Report," distributed by Ernst Zuendel from Canada, and "The
Auschwitz Myth," by Wilhelm Staeglich, which claims the Nazi
death camps were a Zionist invention.

Anti-Semitism is a staple item in Skinhead circles, with
attacks mainly centered on Jewish cemetaries and memorial
sites. There has also been an increase in assaults on
synagogues. On September 21, 1992, three Skinheads and a known
neo-Nazi, Thomas Dienel, carried two halves of a pig's head
into the synagogue in Erfurt, along with a death-threatening
letter. (Dienel, head of the 600-member German National Party
(DNP), was arrested and sentenced to two years and eight
months imprisonment.) In March 1994 and May 1995, the
aforementioned arsons of a synagogue in Luebeck took place.

               Links with Other Neo-Nazis

As early as 1982, one of the first skinzines to appear in
Berlin, _Attack_, undertook "as a sacred duty" to convert the
Skinhead scene into a disciplined, ideological movement. "The
political consciousness of the Skinhead ranges from extremism
to anarchy," the magazine noted, "but for most, the only thing
is to have a good time." This attitude stymied recruitment by
the established neo-Nazi organizations and extremist parties.
Despite repeated efforts to attract the Skinheads to their
ranks, results were meager at first. The Free German Workers
Party (FAP) financed one skinzine, _Querschlaeger_, and
exerted strong influence on another, _White Power_, which
first appeared in November 1990. _Clockwork Orange_, one of
the most popular skinzines, was published by Ulrich Grossman
of Coburg, who, from the mid-eighties on, was a member of the
German National Democratic Party (NPD). _Endsieg_ (Final
Victory) boosted the neo-Nazi brawlers of the now-banned
Nationalist Front (NF), as did the magazine _The New Day_,
which printed the "action program" of the NF in one issue.
Another example is the case of the neo-Nazi Dieter Riefling,
whose zine _The Activist_ promoted the FAP and the Relief
Agency for National Political Prisoners and their Dependents
(HNG).

The one-time manager of the band Volkszorn, Andreas Gaengel,
was active in the Nationalist Front, and until June 1992
disseminated the zine _Endsieg_. A local Skin band, the
Groilmeiers, has been composed of FAP members. According to
_Informationsdienst_ (a monthly intelligence newsletter on
terrorism, extremism and organized crime), the former drummer
for the Kraft Durch Froide band, Andreas Sigfried Pohl, was
chief of the organizing department of the NF, and was active
behind the scenes in the neo-Nazi Society for the Advancement
of Middle German Youth (FMJ), which was banned in 1993. In
Autumn 1993 the group renamed itself Direkte
Aktion/Mitteldeutschland. Its publication _Der Angriff_
(Attack), whose title is taken from the newspaper of Hitler's
chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, has since 1993 stood out
for its advocacy of aggressive xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and
violence. "Nobody can tell us," said _Der Angriff's_ issue no.
5 (Winter 1994), "that he was not pleased when things started
in Rostock" (referring to the burning down of a refugee hostel
in August 1992). The same issue denounced reformed Skin bands,
such as Stoerkraft, which distanced itself from xenophobic
killings with its song "Arson Murderers - you don't belong to
us." _Der Angriff's_ preference is the aforementioned band
Brutaile Haie, which it calls "honest." Direkte Aktion is
oriented toward the recruitment of unemployed and disoriented
youth in the new German states. In January 1994 the police
conducted pre-dawn raids on the group's hangouts in five
states, and Brandeburg authorities banned the organization in
May 1995.

The more established right-wing parties are of less interest
to the Skinheads. Franz Schoenhuber's party, Die Republikaner,
offically discourages Skinhead participation. (How the Skins
cast their secret ballots at election time is, of course,
another matter.) Gerhard Frey's German Peoples Union (DVU),
and the German National Democratic Party (NPD), while stoking
the fire with their nationalist and anti-foreigner rhetoric,
publicly keep their distance. Their public posture
notwithstanding, one of the individuals charged in the
murderous anti-foreign arson in Solingen has been identified
in press accounts as having been a member of the DVU. In
Muelheim, North Rhine-Westphalia, a 56-year-old Turk died of a
heart attack after having been assaulted on March 9, 1993, by
two 21-year-old Skinhead types. The two, both of whom had
criminal records and were members of the Republikaner Party,
first verbally insulted the victim with the epithet
"Shit-Turk" and similar phrases. They then pushed him to the
ground, and one of them pointed a gas pistol at the victim's
head and pulled the trigger three times. Although the pistol
mis-fired, the victim was so frightened that his heart
collapsed. The assailants got four years in prison, and the
Republikaner Party says it expelled them. There have also been
cases of NPD members participating in xenophobic crims like
arson against the homes of foreigners.

                    Unity and Struggle

These cases, however, remain the exception so far. For one
thing, tactical reasons discourage the election-oriented
parties from favoring direct affiliation with Skinheads; for
another, most Skins have a distaste for these parties which
they see as part of "the system." Yet the situation remains
somewhat fluid. An example is the youth organization of the
NPD, the Junge Nationaldemokraten (JN), which has around 150
activists. This group has lately adopted a militant approach,
and disregarded official NPD policy prohibiting contacts with
neo-Nazi groups. Last year _Einheit und Kampf_ (Unity and
Struggle), the organ of the JN, published an interview with
Andreas Siegfried Pohl, a former member of a Skin band, who
was an official of the banned Nationalist Front. In the
interview Pohl called for a "youth" and "youth-style" (read:
"Skinhead") role in "redeveoping a national APO," or
extra-parliamentary opposition, a codeword suggesting street
fighters. The January 1994 issue of _Einheit und Kampf_
advertised concerts featuring the aforementioned hard-line
Skin bands Brutale Haie, Frontal, Trietaeter, and Noie Werte,
organized "in cooperation with" the JN. Another ad in the
paper sought a new producer for the Brutale Haie band.

There is also evidence that convicted Skinheads are receiving
a thorough indoctrination in neo-Nazi ideology at "comradeship
evenings" held in prison. Particularly active on this front is
the aforementioned Relief Agency for National Political
Prisoners and their Dependents, a right-wing group that sends
a steady stream of propaganda to incarcerated neo-Nazi
radicals and Skinheads.

Germany's Skinheads have also developed a growing network of
contacts with Skinheads in other European countries, notably
England, France, Holland, Sweden, Austria, Hungary and, to
some degree, Poland.

                     Eastern Factor

The collapse of the Communist regime in East Germany
significantly affected the Skinhead situation. The emergence
of the eastern Skins radicalized the Skinhead scene in both
numbers and militancy. The aforementioned annual reports of
the German intelligence services placed the total number of
militant right-wing extremists (the majority of them
Skinheads) at 6,400 in 1992 (2,600 in the west, 3,800 in the
new eastern states) and 5,600 in 1993 (3,000 in the west and
2,600 in the east). Taking population figures into account,
these estimates show a disproportionately high Skinhead
presence in the new states.

Among the principal beneficiares of the radicalization was the
FAP, with a spillover membership in Michael Swierczek's
National Offensive, Frank Huebner's German Alternative,
Christian Worch's National List, and the Nationalist Front;
all have subsequently been banned. The latter four were
youth-oriented groups that emphasized street marches and
"direct action." The Hamburg-based National List was banned by
Hamburg authorities, and the others by federal officials.

Another group recently outlawed was the Viking Youth, a
neo-Nazi organization with about 400 young members. Members of
the organization have in recent years associated with the
Skinheads. Federal Interior Minister Manfred Kanther announced
the ban in early November 1994, saying there was no place in
Germany for "groups like the Viking Youth that propagate
racism and anti-Semitism and teach youths to be violent,
intolerant and to hate democracy."

While slow at first to counter the neo-Nazi menace of recent
years, the German government has since demonstrated increasing
vigor in dealing with the problem. Utilizing the tools
available to it under the postware German Constitution, it has
banned some neo-Nazi groups, confiscated their propaganda
materials and arrested many (including Skinheads) who have
broken the law. The controversial constitutional change adoped
in 1993, limiting the flow of refugees into the country, has
moderated the anti-foreigner fever that earlier gripped the
land.
 
The consequence has been a gradual decline in the strength and
rate of crime of Skinheads and other right-wing extremists. At
the same time, the far-right political parties - the
Republikaners and the DVU - have fared poorly in the recent
federal elections.

                     A Real Threat

These positive trends notwithstanding, the extremist threat to
German democracy has not gone away. Particularly disturbing
are the rising numbers of anti-Semitic crimes, a trend which
seems to indicate that Jews, as distinct from other
"foreigners," are coming to be regarded by some German
right-extremists as the "main enemy." Furthermore, segments of
the neo-Nazi movement in Germany are believed to be
accumulating weapons and going underground. Sources report
that internal neo-Nazi discussions revolve around the idea of
"armed resistance."

Finally, the earlier profile of the German Skinhead as poorly
educated, unemployed, and the product of a broken home must,
in the light of later research, be revised. Police statistics
now reveal a different - and more disturbing - picture. An
evaluation (1991-1993) of almost 500 militant right-wing
extremists (particularly Skinheads) arrested for violent
actions showed 33.6% pupils, students and apprentices; 28.7%
skilled workers and craftsmen; 11.3% unskilled workers; 5.6%
office workers; 7.9% soldiers - and only 11.3% unemployed.
Thus, these violent extremists have been coming in substantial
measure from the middle ranges of society, not just the
"lumpen" fringe. (Anti-Defamation League, 34-44)


Notes:

1. Around the time of Moelln, large numbers of Germans took to
   the streets to express outrage at the neo-Nazi violence. In
   Berlin, a government-backed rally drew 300,000 anti-Nazi
   protesters, while additional candlelight vigils and protest
   marches attracted large numbers of Berliners. There followed
   demonstrations of 400,000 in Munich, 120,000 each in Karlsruhe
   and Stuttgart, 400,000 in Hamburg, 250,000 in Essen and
   200,000 once again in Berlin. It is estimated that a total of
   some three million Germans took part in these anti-Nazi
   expressions.

2. Boehse Onkelz have since shed their affinity with
   neo-Nazisim.

3. Most recently, police stopped 231 Skins who were on their
   way to a concert planned for March 25, 1995, in Triptis (near
   Erfurt in eastern Germany), and prevented the event from
   taking place.

4. The FAP was banned in February 1995.

                          Work Cited

Anti-Defamation League. The Skinhead International: A Worldwide
Survey of Neo-Nazi Skinheads. New York: Anti-Defamation League,
1995. Anti-Defamation League, 823 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY
10017.

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