Germany Battles New Look Neo-Nazis

New Generation of Extremists Aren't Just Skinheads

Nice-Looking Nazis? Germany is tracking a new phenomenon: Neo-Nazis who look normal.
getty images
Nice-Looking Nazis? Germany is tracking a new phenomenon: Neo-Nazis who look normal.

By Reuters

Published October 11, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Germany’s neo-Nazis are hanging up their bomber jackets, unlacing their black leather boots and even grabbing a bite to eat at their local Turkish kebab shop.

Eschewing their predecessors’ fierce aversion to anything “un-German”, they blend into the local community and easily escape detection. But police and experts say this new generation of young fascists is potentially far more dangerous and reckless than their older peers.

“Today a neo-Nazi can eat Turkish kebabs and still go out and beat up immigrants,” said journalist Johannes Radke, who has reported on the German far-right for more than a decade.

“They say, ‘We’ll let everyone do whatever they want as long as they’re a Nazi at heart.’”

Headquartered in the down-at-heel western industrial city of Dortmund, a new group known as the Autonomous Nationalists (AN) is at the forefront of this transformation.

They share the hard-core xenophobia of older cadres in the far-right, but their appearance and tactics are those of a dynamic, Internet-savvy youth movement.

They wear stylish running shoes and expensive brand name windbreakers and communicate with each other via Twitter. The use of English slogans at protests, for decades taboo in far-right circles, is widespread.

“They see themselves as the avant-garde of the Nazi scene,” Radke said. “They’re much more professional than some drunk, dim-witted skinhead - and more dangerous.”

Authorities and residents across Germany have become more sensitive to the threat of far-right militants since revelations last year that a neo-Nazi cell waged a seven-year racist killing spree throughout the country, murdering nine people, mostly ethnic Turks, one of them in Dortmund.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.