The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Skinhead International: Germany

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' 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." er Angriff' 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.

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.

Disclaimer: not all skinheads are neo-nazis or white supremacists. There are many skinheads who are non- or anti-racist, and who come from a variety of different religious and cultural backgrounds. Nizkor recognizes their achievements in anti-racism: they are part of the traditional, non-racist skinhead subculture and are not the perpetrators of the hate crimes discussed here.

Unless otherwise specified, the word "skinhead" within these pages refers only to neo-Nazi and white supremacist skinheads, the perpetrators of hate crimes and participants in racist organizations. We cannot edit the body of the text above, because it was not written by Nizkor, and to change the wording would be fraudulent. Please keep in mind that not all skinheads are racist.

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