A Time to Meet Nazis’

March of the World Cup Nazis

By DAVID JONES, Dai­ly Mail 

Racial hatred, bru­tal beat­ings and mur­ders. Hitler´s Reich? No, modern
Ger­many just 12 weeks before the World Cup. No won­der black Britons are
being told their lives are at risk…

With its cob­bled streets, orna­men­tal gar­dens, and a mag­nif­i­cent palace
built by Fred­er­ick the Great, Pots­dam is a see des­ti­na­tion for World Cup
fans wish­ing to absorb some Ger­man cul­ture between foot­ball matches.

Shame­ful­ly, how­ev­er, this afflu­ent old uni­ver­si­ty town, nestling on the
south­ern fringes of Berlin — the venue for six match­es includ­ing the
final on July 9 — has been declared too dan­ger­ous for non-white
sup­port­ers to risk visiting.

It is named on a list of no-go areas, drawn up for the safe­ty of black
peo­ple plan­ning to attend the tour­na­ment, fol­low­ing a series of vicious
racial­ly-moti­vat­ed attacks in the states of for­mer East Germany.

The lat­est occurred four weeks ago. Walk­ing home late at night, Ermyas
Muluge­ta, a 37-year-old Ethiopi­an work­ing in Pots­dam as an engi­neer, was
accost­ed and abused by two burly neo-Nazi thugs.

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment is play­ing down the Nazi threat.

Ter­ri­fied, he used his mobile phone to call his wife for help, but she
was asleep and what fol­lowed was record­ed on the answer­ing machine. ´Why
are you call­ing me a pig? Why are you call­ing me a n****r?´ Mr Mulugeta
is heard to ask tremu­lous­ly, on a tape which shocked the nation when it
was lat­er replayed on TV news bul­letins. The response is a flur­ry of
fur­ther racial insults, inter­spersed by ago-nised groans and the dull
thud of kicks.

Accord­ing to doc­tors, just one more blow to the head would have killed
Mr Muluge­ta. This week, mer­ci­ful­ly, he emerged from a coma, but he
remains in a wheel­chair, his chances of a full recov­ery uncer­tain. For
the World Cup hosts, this hor­ren­dous, high­ly-pub­li­cised attack on a
decent man in an out­ward­ly respectable area could not have been more

If we believe the ubiq­ui­tous World Cup mot­to, this sum­mer had promised
to be ´A Time to Make Friends´. But accord­ing to the chill­ing headline
in one lead­ing Ger­man news­pa­per, for non-white sup­port­ers it now
threat­ens a dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence — ´A Time to Meet Nazis´.

Fears that the hoped-for sport­ing idyll will be marred by Far Right
extrem­ists first sur­faced soon after the Pots­dam attack, when the Africa
Coun­cil — which rep­re­sents the inter­ests of Africans in Germany —
pub­lished its no-go area list. Some of the places deemed unsafe for
black fans, such as tough, work­ing-class white sub­urbs of Berlin and
Leipzig (anoth­er World Cup venue) were pre­dictable enough.

Yet the inclu­sion of Pots­dam and oth­er out­ward­ly tran­quil towns — some
of which fea­ture on the offi­cial­ly-rec­om­mend­ed World Cup tourist trail
through the east­ern states of Bran­den­burg, Sax­ony, and Saxony-Anhalt —
was as embar­rass­ing as it was alarming.

Under­stand­ably, the Ger­man fed­er­al gov­ern­ment and foot­ball association
are try­ing to play down the threat, which has cast a cloud over the
pre-tour­na­ment hype. Yes­ter­day, in a fright­en­ing esca­la­tion, apparently
timed to scare off prospec­tive World Cup tourists, three seri­ous racial
attacks were report­ed in the towns of Weimar and Wis­mar — and the
cap­i­tal itself.

The vic­tims were from Mozam­bique, Cuba, India and Turkey. The thugs who
beat up the Turk­ish man shout­ed: ´Adolf Hitler was our friend! He stood
by us to the end!´ To stoke up the ten­sion, Far Right activists have
applied to stage a march in Leipzig to coin­cide with the match between
Ango­la and Iran — whose pres­i­dent is a Holo­caust denier. And the
Nation­aldemokratis­che Partei Deutsch­lands (NPD), Germany´s equiv­a­lent of
the British Nation­al Par­ty, will host an inter­na­tion­al gath­er­ing on the
tournament´s open­ing day, June 9.

Ger­many has wit­nessed 133 race mur­ders since the Berlin wall fell.

Ear­li­er, the Africa Council´s claims were endorsed by a high-profile
for­mer gov­ern­ment spokesman, Uwe-Karsten Haye. ´There are small and
mid-sized towns in the state of Bran­den­burg, and oth­er places, where I
would not advise any­one with a dif­fer­ent skin colour to go,´ warned Mr
Haye, who now heads a human rights group. Grim­ly, he added: ´They would
prob­a­bly not get out alive.´

Foot­ball chiefs and politi­cians who accuse him of scare-mon­ger­ing should
check the sta­tis­tics. In the 16 years since the Berlin Wall fell,
Ger­many has wit­nessed 133 race mur­ders accord­ing to the Amadeu Antonio
Foun­da­tion, an anti-Nazi organ­i­sa­tion named after the first vic­tim. In
2004, the most recent year for which fig­ures are avail­able, there were
766 vio­lent crimes against non­white Ger­mans with ´Right-wing
moti­va­tion´, includ­ing 640 beat­ings, six attempt­ed mur­ders, and several
arson attacks.

These shock­ing­ly high num­bers occurred, we should remem­ber, in a country
whose immi­grant pop­u­la­tion is only around three mil­lion (main­ly of
Turk­ish eth­nic­i­ty) out of a total of more than 82 mil­lion — a relatively
small per­cent­age com­pared with that of Britain. Pro­por­tion­al­ly, the
great major­i­ty of attacks take place in the for­mer East Ger­many, where
eth­nic minori­ties are 23 times more like­ly to be attacked for the colour
of their skin than in West Germany.

Annet­ta Kahane, head of the Amadeu project, describes a region riven
with ´Ku Klux Klan towns and cities´. ´In such places, the old National
Social­ist val­ues and tra­di­tions are endem­ic,´ she told me. ´They are
hand­ed down from par­ents to chil­dren at the din­ner table. They are so
deeply embed­ded in the fab­ric of the com­mu­ni­ty that they are the norm.´ 

Trav­el­ling along the World Cup sight­see­ing route this week, from Berlin
down through the heart­land of these embat­tled, ultra-nationalistic
enclaves, I found this to be fright­en­ing­ly true. In the pret­ty village
of Pom­melte, near Magde­burg, four youths fid­get­ed on a wood­en court
bench last Mon­day as Judge Peg­gy Bos described how, for 75 min­utes, they
tor­tured 12-year-old Kevin Khune.

The Ethiopi­an-Ger­man lad was abduct­ed as he got off a bus and
frog­marched to a qui­et spot. The gang´s leader, Francesco Lenz, a
weedy-look­ing 20-year-old who called him­self The Night Fright­en­er, told
the boy: ´My vil­lage was clean for 20 years — until you came along!´

Then he and his three skin­head cronies, all aged 16, spat and urinated
on Kevin, racial­ly abused him and forced him to lick their boots.

They ordered him to repeat the mantra: ´A real Ger­man is tall and blonde
with blue eyes,´ appar­ent­ly for­get­ting that they did not remotely
con­form to this Ari­an stereotype.

They bom­bard­ed him with ques­tions, such as ´when are you leav­ing the
coun­try?´ and if he answered wrong­ly, took turns to thump, kick,
throt­tle, bot­tle and head-butt him.

Final­ly, Lenz, the most sadis­tic, stubbed out a cig­a­rette on Kevin´s
face, close to his eye. He drew out a gun and feigned to shoot him
before leav­ing him, bare­ly recog­nis­able, to stum­ble back to his home.

Lis­ten­ing to this depress­ing litany, in a crowd­ed small town courthouse
last week, one imag­ined that the per­pe­tra­tors must have been among a
tiny minor­i­ty of social mis­fits. Sad­ly, this is far from the truth.

Repressed nation­al­ist sen­ti­ment has explod­ed to the sur­face.

Even by the cau­tious esti­mate of the Fed­er­al Office for the Protection
of the Con­sti­tu­tion, some 40–50,000 hard-core Far Right extrem­ists are
active in Germany.

And Exit, the organ­i­sa­tion which helps peo­ple to escape the cloying
Neo-Nazi scene, esti­mates that a fur­ther 200,000 are loose­ly associated
with them, attend­ing social events and ral­lies, danc­ing to music by
hate-mon­ger­ing bands such as Lancer, and read­ing their literature.

They oper­ate at var­i­ous lev­els, from drunk­en, xeno­pho­bic skin­heads who
take spon­ta­neous plea­sure i
n bash­ing for­eign­ers (ludi­crous­ly blamed for
all East Germany´s ills) to high­ly-organ­ised politi­cos plot­ting to
return Ger­many to its ´glo­ri­ous´ past.

Like many thugs who prowl the no-go areas, Lenz and his crew fell
some­where in between.

They were hard­ly big-time play­ers, yet they were seri­ous enough to have
immersed them­selves in Nazi ide­ol­o­gy and formed their own Kamaradschaft,
or small, infor­mal cell.

They also exert­ed influ­ence over oth­er vil­lage youths, who mourned
out­side the court after they were sen­tenced (Lenz received three years
and six months in custody).

But in a coun­try which has suf­fered so deeply in the name of Nazism, why
were they drawn to its cause?

First, experts say, the old com­mu­nist regime was so deter­mined to
oblit­er­ate its own past that anti-Semi­tism, racism and other
pro­cliv­i­ties of Nation­al Social­ism were nev­er tack­led — just ignored and
denied as if they nev­er happened.

At the same time, peo­ple were so restrict­ed — and so much under the
thumb of the Sovi­et Union — that, in the pri­va­cy of their homes, they
lament­ed the Thir­ties, when Ger­many was proud, strong — and above all

The moment the Wall came down, this repressed nation­al­ist sentiment
explod­ed to the surface.

But there were oth­er fac­tors. Though the Ger­man Demo­c­ra­t­ic Republic
per­mit­ted 160,000 non­whites to work there, under agree­ments with
com­mu­nist coun­tries such as Viet­nam, Cuba and Ango­la, a sys­tem of
vir­tu­al apartheid prevailed.

Black work­ers were forced to live as third-class sub­jects in grim
dor­mi­to­ry blocks. They were for­bid­den from social­is­ing with Ger­mans, and
women who fell preg­nant by a Ger­man were forced to have an abortion.

So the Third Reich doc­trine of a supe­ri­or white mas­ter-race was
per­pet­u­at­ed. After reuni­fi­ca­tion, the government´s answer was to employ
an army of social work­ers, tasked with reed­u­cat­ing the brainwashed
East­ern­ers to think like mem­bers of a mod­ern tol­er­ant democracy.

A fresh gen­er­a­tion of Ger­mans regard Nation­al Social­ism as a fashion

Iron­i­cal­ly, many of these new­ly-trained com­mu­ni­ty work­ers were
them­selves ingrained with the old East­ern ide­ol­o­gy — and the expensive
social engi­neer­ing plan failed.

Matthias Adri­an, 30, a senior fig­ure in the extreme-Right NPD´s
noto­ri­ous Youth Wing until he defect­ed five years ago to join Exit,
explained how he rose through the ranks.

Born into a Bavar­i­an fam­i­ly with strong mil­i­tary tra­di­tions, both his
grand­fa­thers fought in World War II. At fam­i­ly gath­er­ings, when the beer
flowed, they would rem­i­nisce fond­ly about their fight­ing days.

Adri­an was shocked and con­fused, there­fore, at the age of nine, when his
school­teacher — who belonged to the new lib­er­al-Left — showed his class
pic­tures of Holo­caust victims.

That night, he con­front­ed his grand­fa­ther, who assured him his teacher
had exag­ger­at­ed. Most Ger­man sol­diers had behaved hon­ourably, he said,
adding in a whis­per: ´Any­way, the Jews killed Jesus.´

Forced to choose between his teacher and beloved grand­pa, Adri­an sided
with the old sol­dier. By the time he was 13, he was read­ing the National
News­pa­per, a Neo-Nazi pro­pa­gan­da sheet, and his most trea­sured book was
an illus­trat­ed eulo­gy to the SS.

´When my school dis­cov­ered this, they sent me to spe­cial correction
class­es, but they only made me want to rebel more,´ he says. ´Some other
kids fol­lowed me, and we start­ed wear­ing brown shirts like the Hitler
Youth. We called our­selves the Com­bat Sports Group, and I was the
Haupt­sturm­fuhrer (Major).´

>From daub­ing a local corn silo with swastikas, 20-year-old Adri­an — by
now sport­ing a Hitler mous­tache — joined the Youth NPD, ris­ing to
sec­ond-in-com­mand of Hes­sen state.

Like oth­er mem­bers, he also joined a secret organ­i­sa­tion called Free
Corps Great Ger­many. This para­mil­i­tary group has a fierce National
Social­ist ide­ol­o­gy and its mem­bers under­go com­bat train­ing in readiness
for the envis­aged neo-Nazi revolution.

´I was edu­cat­ed to use Uzi and MG42 machine-guns at camps in
Switzer­land,´ he recalls ´But my real role was to dis­sem­i­nate propaganda.

´We believed our time would come after Ger­many was engulfed by race
riots. I was issued with a list of 200 promi­nent Ger­mans, whom my
sec­tion was sup­posed to assas­si­nate when the rev­o­lu­tion came.´

Adri­an even­tu­al­ly became dis­il­lu­sioned with the debauch­ery and
cor­rup­tion in the NPD. He claims its youth leader cavort­ed with
pros­ti­tutes and that funds disappeared.

Today, hav­ing recov­ered from a ner­vous break­down pre­cip­i­tat­ed by his
real­i­sa­tion that the extreme-Right wing beliefs he had espoused were
wrong, one of his tasks is to go into schools and warn gullible
teenagers against fol­low­ing his path.

He has found that the move­ment is attract­ing a fresh gen­er­a­tion of
Ger­mans, who regard Nation­al Social­ism as a fash­ion state­ment. These
young fas­cists dye their hair and wear styl­ish clothes designed by their
label of choice, Thorsteiner.

The NPD woos them with its own mail-order cat­a­logue — rak­ing in a tidy
prof­it in the process. Items on offer include per­fume pur­port­ing to
smell of ´real Ger­man men´, SS uni­forms and coats (minus the sinister
rune sym­bols, which are ille­gal under anti-Nazi laws), and female
under­wear bear­ing saucy, patri­ot­ic slogans.

Mean­while, the threat from the ´ultras´ — old-style foot­ball thugs who
cause may­hem in and around the sta­di­ums of low­er-divi­sion teams in the
East — should not be ignored.

Last Sat­ur­day, I attend­ed an end-of-sea­son booze-up at Chem­nitz football
club, whose noto­ri­ous­ly racist fans recent­ly ran amok in Hamburg
wreck­ing Turk­ish shops, wav­ing Nazi flags and chant­i­ng their favourite
song, about build­ing a tun­nel from their oppo­nents´ sta­di­um to the
gas-cham­bers of Auschwitz.

I was intro­duced to Thomas Haller, 41, a 20st, gold jewellery-laden
father of six, who boasts of being jailed sev­er­al times for football
vio­lence, and leads the Chem­nitz boys into combat.

Not, he is it pains to stress, inside his own sta­di­um — which he and his
black-clad ´secu­ri­ty´ goons are employed by the club to pro­tect — but at
pre-arranged bat­tle grounds, such as forests and car parks.

Haller, who hopes to attend the World Cup games, tells me he ´can´t
stand´ black play­ers, even though Chem­nitzer FC has a Nigerian
cen­tre-for­ward. As for racist chant­i­ng, he believes it is part of the game.

´The African peo­ple can come as our guests — so long as they behave,´ he
says. ´But if they start giv­ing peo­ple drugs or look­ing at our women,
then they are going to get problems.´

When a foot­ball club pays a big­ot­ed yob such as Haller to enforce good
behav­iour, one under­stands why some now ques­tion Germany´s right to host
the World Cup at all.

Deserved­ly or oth­er­wise, how­ev­er, football´s rain­bow of nations will
decamp here in 13 days´ time.

The final will be played in the impres­sive Berlin sta­di­um built by
Hitler for the infa­mous 1936 Olympics, where Jesse Owens belied the myth
of ´white supremacy´.

Sev­en­ty years on, we must hope sport brings a divid­ed world closer
togeth­er, and that when the last whis­tle sounds, the only colour worthy
of men­tion is that of vic­to­ri­ous team´s shirts.

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