The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Skinhead International: Germany

"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.

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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