Category Archives: NPD

German Neo-Nazi Agitates Against Jews

Udo Pastörs, member of the provincial parliament and head of the neo-Nazi NPD party in the German province of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern attacks Jews and the “Jew-Republic” (i.e. the present Germany), more openly and more directly than ever before (Feb. 2009). The video here is a documentation furnished by German TV.

And here, in a second video, Pastörs can be seen at greater length:

The New Nazis Speak

In this year of the 75th anniversary of Hitler’s seizure of power in Germany, the new German Nazis — “National Democratic Party of Germany,” NPD — seem well established in at least two of the provincial legislatures of the German Federal Republic: Sachsen and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MVP). Both of these provinces were part of the former East Germany. In Sachsen, the NPD received 9.2% of the vote in the elections of 2004, and in MVP it received 7.3% in 2006. The NPD has seats in both of these legislatures and uses them with very considerable skill to advance its shrill xenophobic campaign.

The remarkable video below (in German only) was taken on January 31 in the legislature of MVP in the city of Schwerin. Its shows the NPD leader Udo Pastörs deliver a harangue against foreigners in Germany. He has it in mostly for the Turkish residents of Germany, but he also pays particular attention to Jews, their synagogues, and those who pretend to be Jews in order to benefit from German social programs. His biggest enemies, for all that, are the democratic parties (as they call themselves in this context) that form the majorities in both federal and provincial legislatures. The video should be studied not only for its particular content but also, at least as much, for the oratorical style of these new Nazis and also that of their enemies.

The democratic parties, it would seem, have done a good job at keeping these new Nazis at bay. In this video, we see Peter Ritter of the Left party, and, more tellingly, Sylvia Bretschneider of the Social Democrats (who is the president of the provincial parliament) deliver strong and effective rebukes to Pastörs and his message of hate.

[addendum, 2/11/08: The original video here, which had Pastörs speaking to the legislature in Jan. of 2008, with responses from the president of the chamber, no longer seems to be available. I have substituted another video, which has Pastörs speaking a few days later, to his party comrades, at another venue. Additional videos with this gentleman are available on YouTube.]

[addendum, 2/26/08: Here is another video. This is a revealing reportage by the German “heute-journal” ( Sept. 19, 2006) of the 2006 neo-Nazi victory in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Sorry, it’s all in German.]

The Extreme Right in Today’s Germany — ct’d

Mohanphoto4u

They cannot escape history. Whatever similarities there may be with radical-right groups in other countries, it is the post-war extreme right in Germany that is uniquely shadowed by the figure of Adolf Hitler.

Last year’s book by Toralf Staud, “Moderne Nazis” (in German), gives a thorough and vivid description of the Nationaldeutsche Partei Deutschlands and its variously associated but independent local “Kameradschaften.” We are indeed fortunate to have this measured and scholarly account. One of its many virtues is its excellent bibliography of the scholarly and journalistic literature. If I have a criticism, it is its failure to provide photographs. As was true of its Nazi predecessors in the Hitler period, this post-war extremist milieu must be seen to be appreciated– if not in person than at least in pictures. (Both YouTube and Flickr have pictorial materials, a small part of which I have presented on this blog earlier).

How large is this grouping in the Germany of today ? The German parliamentary system has a five-percent threshold that prevents splinter parties from entering the legislatures. As a result, the NPD has never been able to elect a representative to the national parliament. But in the late sixties and earlier seventies it was able to seat representatives in several Länder (states) of the then-West Germany. Today the NPD has representatives in only two Länder, Saxony and Mecklenburg – East Pomerania, both of which were in the former East Germany. The party garners between five and ten percent of the votes in those states, but can receive in excess of twenty percent in some small cities and towns. In the west, the NPD today is a hopelessly small splinter grouping.

As Staud shows in detail, the weight of the extreme right can only imperfectly be assessed by the voting strength of the NPD. The extreme right is somewhat heterogeneous, and some of its formations seem to be at odds with one another. On the one hand, for example, is the staid, traditional conservatism of German nationalism (harking back, in some respects, to the German-National Peoples Party [DNVP] of the pre-Nazi era), but on the other hand there are the very rowdy, unruly, brawling skinheads and right-rock enthusiasts. It is this latter scene, in particular, that seems to have given the extreme right wing, with the NPD at its center, a great new dynamism.

All sections of the extreme right have, more or less as articles of faith, these similarities:

1) First and foremost, a fierce xenophobia, especially a hostility to Germans of non-German origins, in particular those who came from Turkey.

2) A greater or lesser admiration of the Third Reich, or least a rejection of all views that saw Hitler as evil. Sometimes this takes the form of no more than nostalgia for the Wehrmacht, the trade in Nazi-era paraphernalia, etc. The new movie “The Unknown Soldier” (see review by A. O. Scott) documents the attempts of the extreme right to prevent the showing of an exhibition concerning the Wehrmacht in the Nazi era.

2) A rejection of the “system,” i.e. of the constitutional order of the German Federal Republic. There is much talk of “revolution” and the need to re-make the world. This has not always been true of the NPD. When it was founded, shortly after the War, it seemed content enough to work within the established order. In this earlier period it was able to elect representatives to western state legislatures, which it is unable to do now in its revolutionary incarnation.

3) Anti-Semitism. It came as a surprise to me that this theme is little stressed and seems to have low salience. It is simply taken for granted that Jews are to be hated, but little energy seems to be expended in this pursuit.

4) Opposition to Israel. The NPD and its fellow-travelers regularly embrace the anti-Israel stance of Arabs and left-wing Germans. This does not seem to cause discomfort in a movement that regularly denounces both the Muslims of Germany and the German left-wing.

5) Opposition to the West, particularly the United States. Sometimes this is expressed in terms of up-to-date international politics, but always also in terms of history, of the still-resented Allied victory in WWII.

Now, with Adolf Hitler as the unspoken but constant subtext to this movement, certainly so in the eyes of its many German detractors, we must observe some crucial differences from the Nazi movement of the 1920’s and 1930’s.

A. Unlike the NSDAP (Nazis) of the late Weimar republic, the NPD has no sizable popular base. In west Germany it seems to have no base at all, and in the eastern states, overall, it has a following of less than five percent of the population. At present, at least, it does not constitute a threat to German democracy.

B. Again unlike the NSDAP, which ultimately came to power only through deals with respectable parties, the NPD has been almost completely ostracized by other political formations. As long as this ostracism holds, it is difficult to see the NDP insinuate itself into any position of power anywhere in Germany.

C. Neither the NDP nor any other grouping on the extreme right has a charismatic figure who would command loyalty or admiration or respect within his own movement, let alone in the general public. In short, and alas for these new Nazis, there is no living Adolf Hitler now that they need one so badly.

D. The choreography of these two movements is radically different. The old NSDAP based itself on military traditions. It built a para-military grouping around itself, with uniforms, banners, badges, insignia, and a bold crimson flag that its Führer had personally designed. The extreme right of today, originally using traditional folk music and folkish cultural elements, is today dominated by the cultural styles of skinheads and rock enthusiasts. There are no uniforms. There are no storm troops. There are no para-military barracks.

What these differences imply for the future of the movement is hard to say. What is clear, though, is that the NSDAP has not found any sort of afterlife for its most significant features.

The Extreme Right Wing in Today’s Germany, part 1

I expect to post information about this troubling phenomenon from time to time.

Today’s extreme right wing in Germany has not been well reported in the western press, although the German media carry full, and disquieting, details. The movement, while heterogeneous, is united in its key tenets: anti-foreigner, anti-Semitic, respectful of the Third Reich, anti-American, anti-Israel.

At the center of this movement is the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, or NPD. The party cannot currently obtain the support of any appreciable number of voters in the old, western regions. But in recent years it has made spectacular electoral gains in two of the new, eastern “Laender” (provinces) of the Federal Republic:

1) Sachsen. This is the land of the two important cities of Dresden and Leipzig. It is densely populated, having about 230 inhabitants per square kilometer. In the last (2004) provincial elections, the NDP obtained 9.2% of the vote, sending 12 deputies to the provincial legislature in Dresden.

2) Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. This is largely rural and small-town territory, north and east of Berlin, with a population density of about 73 inhabitants per square kilometer. In 2006 it elected 6 NDP deputies to the provincial legislature in Schwerin, the party having obtained 7.3% of the vote.

There is little that the English-only reader can find that is either reliable or comprehensive. I thought that the (English-language) Wikipedia article on the NDP is particularly biased — in favor of the NPD. But there is much in German that is informative. The German Wikipedia article is very good. There is also, among a number of other good German resources, the blog operated by Patrick Gensing.

Finally, there is the book-length study by Toralf Staud, “Moderne Nazis — Die neuen Rechten und the Aufstieg der NPD,” again, only in German so far. It should be issued in an English translation. I hope to report on this book in more detail in a future posting.