Posts tagged ‘neo-nazis’

September 20, 2010

The new New Right wins big in Sweden

AS COUNTRIES GO THESE days, you can’t get much more respectable than Sweden. Didn’t the Swedes remain (more or less) neutral during both World Wars? Don’t they spend more than almost any other people on foreign aid? And wasn’t it a Swede who created the Nobel Peace Prize? But Alfred Nobel also invented dynamite, and last weekend’s parliamentary election with its lurch to the “respectable right” is the most explosive in recent memory.

Things started out very well for conservative minister president Fredrik Reinfeldt, who hoped to walk back to power after a successful four years at the head of this traditionally…

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September 14, 2010

“Freedom”! Germany’s rush to the right

RENEGADE ECONOMIST THILO SARRAZIN might not know much about genetics, but he sure knows his way around money. Last week the controversial economist, whose anti-immigrant book Germany is Abolishing Itself is topping all the bestseller lists, finally agreed to leave his no longer defensible position on the Board of Directors of the Bundesbank in Frankfurt after direct intervention by Germany’s president, Christian Wulff. In the end, Sarrazin did not take the Bundesbank to court, but he did take it to the cleaners: Sarrazin finagled an extra one thousand euros in monthly pension payments, the amount he would have gotten if he had stuck it out until his term ended in 2014. As it is, Germany’s best-known Muslim-hater and “Jewish gene” proponent, who has not exactly had to go begging so far and whose book has already sold over 400,000 copies in two weeks at 22,99 euros a pop, will be receiving a monthly pension check of 10,000…

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June 29, 2010

German city “pulls the rug” from under neo-Nazi party

RIGHT-WING PARTIES ARE difficult enough to combat after they have seized power, after which they normally change the political rules and crush all opposition. But they are elusive in democratic societies as well, where they often become masters at flouting the spirit of democracy under the guise of freedom of peace and assembly. But a town in former East Germany has found a clever way to, as it were, pull the rug from under the feet of its own local neo-Nazi party while leaving its constitutionally guaranteed rights intact: It simply changed its address.

Riesa, population 34,000, is a picturesque Saxon industrial town located on the banks of the River Elbe. For the past ten years, Mannheimer Strasse has been the home of the local offices of the far right National Democratic Party (NPD) and its newspaper, the Deutsche Stimme (“German Voice”). Its politics are “conservative” in the eastern German sense of the word, with the Christian Democrats and the post-communist…

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June 11, 2010

Swedish millionaire said to be behind Auschwitz sign theft

THE SIGN OVER THE gateway to Auschwitz concentration camp bearing the infamous slogan “Work sets you free,” which was stolen by three Polish men last December 18, may have been purloined on behalf of a Swedish millionaire. (I already wrote about the Auschwitz theft here and here.) According to today’s edition of the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Lars-Göran Wahlström, a familiar figure in the Swedish neo-Nazi movement, had asked his friend Anders Högström to arrange the theft for money. Högström, a former neo-Nazi who until recently had been working to educate young Swedes about the evils of right wing extremism, was later arrested and admitted to having hired the three Poles to do the job. They have since received jail sentences of between one and a half and two and a half years. Högström is still awaiting trial in Poland.

Högström revealed Wahlström’s name…

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April 9, 2010

Alleged Auschwitz sign thief deported to Poland

TODAY, JUST IN TIME for Holocaust Remembrance Day this weekend, the man suspected of commissioning the theft of the “Arbeit macht frei” sign from the gate of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp last December has been transferred to Polish custody by the Swedish authorities. He faces theft charges in a Cracow courtroom.

At first glance, thirty-four year-old Anders Högström would appear to be an unlikely candidate for such a crime. While he had been an active member of the far-right Swedish Nationalsocialistik front until 1999, Högström soon abandoned Nazism and joined first the left-wing Social Democratic Party and, later, Sweden’s conservative Moderata samlingspartiet. Högström soon joined an anti-Nazi organization called “Exit”…

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February 14, 2010

Dresden says “nein” to neo-Nazis

A barricade burns in Dresden on February 13, 2010

SIXTY-FIVE YEARS AGO this weekend, in four raids from February 13 to 15, 1945, 1,300 British and American bombers dropped a total of 3,900 tons of high explosives and incendiary bombs on the Saxon capital Dresden. The city center and much of the surrounding residential areas, by now swollen with refugees fleeing the Soviet onslaught from the East, burned to ashes. While Nazi and, later, communist propagandists originally spoke of up to 350,000 deaths, more recent studies estimate that between 18,000 and 25,000 German civilians and foreign slave laborers met a gruesome death in the firestorm.

As Kurt Vonnegut – who survived the bombing in a slaughterhouse cellar and later dug out corpses for the Germans – later wrote, “So it goes.”

No wonder, therefore, that Dresdeners have commemorated this event in various ways since the end of the war. The militant demonstrations against the murderous work of the “Anglo-American terror bombers,” a hallmark of the East German regime, have since given way to more conciliatory prayer services and calls for global peace. But ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall, German and international neo-Nazis have been flocking to Dresden…

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