Germany

Germany is the biggest country in the European Union, with 84 million people. For decades, the far right couldn’t bring its Parties into the Bundestag, the German parliament.  

In history, the far right Parties NPD and Republikaner, have had some success on a regional level, and they were voted into the ‘Landtag’, but before 2013, they were never voted into the national parliament.

Current Situation 

Introduction

Introduction

Germany is the biggest country in the European Union, with 84 million people. For decades, the far right couldn’t bring its Parties into the Bundestag, the German parliament.  

In history, the far right Parties NPD and Republikaner, have had some success on a regional level, and they were voted into the ‘Landtag’, but before 2013, they were never voted into the national parliament. 

 

A long-term successful far-right Party in Germany, AfD, is a new phenomenon. The AfD looked in the beginning to neighbouring countries for role models. Especially the FPÖ in Austria is a role model for the AfD. There are close relations between AfD and FPÖ because of the common language.  

 

After the AfD was founded in 2013 as a eurosceptic party, it became a collection of different streams of the far right and the conservative right. Over the years, the AfD changed from a eurosceptic party into a far-right party with an openly fascist wing, which grouped around Politician Björn Höcke. 

 

In September 2021, the party was voted into the Bundestag for the second time. In Germany, 10% of the voting people voted for the AfD. So, around 10% of the voters in Germany are regular voters for a far-right party. 

 

Since 2013, there have been far-right street movements on different topics. At the end of 2013 „Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung Europas“ (PEGIDA) and 2014 the „Hooligans gegen Salafisten“ (HoGeSa) with the topic Islam as hostile image. 

 

After the „summer of migration“ 2015 (refugees from Syria came to the EU), there were many local „Nein zum Heim“-campaigns and rallies against the reception of refugees – some of them organised by the AfD, others were independent racists. 

 

Later, the anti-refugee theme shifted to anti-establishment and “Nein zum Heim” became “Merkel must go”.  

 

In April 2020, the “Querdenken” movement started with the topic of COVID-19 restrictions and Vaccination. The movement was not originally far right but open to the far right and conspiracy theories. In some federal states, far-right forces led these Protests. 

 

The coronavirus conspiracy theorists became radicalised during the pandemic. Small groups planned terrorist attacks or even a coup against the government. These plans were often linked to the ‘Reichsbürger’ movement. This movement has over 30,000 members in Germany. ‘Reichsbürger’ believe that the ‘Deutsches Reich’ (German Empire) is still the legal status of the actual Germany. In their opinion, the elected government is illegal, and often, they do not accept the actual borders to Poland, Denmark and France. The ‘Reichsbürger’ are mostly far-right, antidemocratic and antisemitic. There are dozens of organisations of them in Germany. 

 

Since the founding of the AfD, many experts have seen a „Rechtsruck“, a turn to the political right, in German society. Surprisingly the neonazist far right wasn’t able to use the situation in the whole country. 

 

In recent years, right-wing scandals in the police and army have been recurring. Some of them involve groups and networks. This is concerning because both have access to weapons, and the police also have access to vulnerable information. Such incidents make it difficult for victims of right-wing violence to turn to the police.

 

Far-right extremism took a heavy toll in Germany. The “Amadeu Antonio Stiftung” counts at least 213 fatalities of right-wing extremist violence in Germany from 1990 until 2021. In his book “Kein Vergessen – Todesopfer rechter Gewalt in Deutschland nach 1945” (2020), author Thomas Billstein documents 315 cases since 1970, including 41 suspected cases. 

(German: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todesopfer_rechtsextremer_Gewalt_in_der_Bundesrepublik_Deutschland) 

 

Between 2000 and 2007, the right-wing terrorist group “National Socialist Underground” murdered ten people in Germany, nine of them for racist motives. The racist motive only became known to the public after the NSU exposed itself in November 2011. 

Even after the NSU was unmasked, there were far-right murders in Germany: 

 

  • In a racially motivated attack in Munich in 2016, an 18-year-old German-Iranian killed nine people on July 22, 2016.  
  • On October 9, 2019, the far-right extremist Stephan B. attempted to enter a synagogue in Halle an der Saale, heavily armed. After failing at the door, he killed two people. 
  • On February 20, 2020, Tobias R. shot nine people in the town of Hanau near Frankfurt/Main for racist motives.
Status of the far-right in the country

Status of the far-right in the country

In a federal state like Germany, you have to look deeper at the situation in the individual states. A significant difference exists between West Germany and East Germany, the former “German Democratic Republic.” The eastern part has its own political culture. In some ways, this part of Germany is more similar to Eastern Europe: the socialist past, foreclosure, Homogeneity of the Population, and the more significant problems with Unemployment. 

But there are also important differences in Eastern Germany. The federal state of Sachsen, Saxony, is a stronghold of the far right and is becoming an Experimental field for them. 

In Western Germany, there is a more extended experience with Immigration. But this also led to the existence of nationalism and fascism in migrant groups. Especially in the Turkish community, there are strong fascist and nationalist organisations. They are a danger for Armenians, left-leaning Turks and Kurds. 

The German nationalist far right is very concerned by Germany’s development into an immigration country. In West Germany, the extreme right is becoming more inclusive to some extent and also accepts migrants or homosexuals in its ranks if they have similar positions.
Racist hardliners, on the other hand, see large areas of West Germany as lost. Recently, they have been discussing a targeted settlement in eastern Germany, especially in Saxony, as a plan B if the “reconquest” of the whole country fails.

Others are planning the mass deportation of migrants, including German citizens with a migration background. They call this plan “remigration”. Large sections of the AfD, as well as the Identitarians and think tanks such as the Institute for State Policy, are pursuing these plans.

Status of antifascists in the country

Status of antifascists in the country

Independent left-wing antifascists and parts of civil society provide counter-resistance against the far-right. Migrant self-organizations are also involved in this struggle. The state also partly tries to address the issue with its national intelligence service, “Verfassungsschutz.” However, since the “Verfassungsschutz” in Germany also leads so-called V-men in the right-wing scene, it is rather part of the problem than its solution. 

Victims of far-right violence are primarily migrants, LGBTTIQ, Jews and people of colour. In recent years, journalists and politicians have also been increasingly affected by far-right attacks. Especially women are often victims of shitstorms with the threat of sexualised violence. Anti-fascists are threatened by far-right violence and hostility, too. 

The question of how broad alliances should be and how close one should be to the state provides for discussions within the anti-fascists.

International relationships

International relationships

When considering the international relationship of the far right, it is necessary to look at the different currents and organisations. The AfD is well-networked with its sister parties in the EU. The neo-Nazi right is internationally networked, primarily through music. Many concerts with German bands or organisers occur in neighbouring countries such as the Czech Republic, France or Switzerland to prevent a ban.

There is also an export of ideology on the content level through translations and book publications. For example, right-wing publishers in Germany publish authors such as Alain de Benoist (France). 

 

The neo-Nazi parties NPD, “Der III. Weg” and “Die Rechte” have contacts with similar parties abroad. They often send delegations to their demonstrations, for example, to the Lukov March in Sofia (Bulgaria), the Irmia March in Athens (Greece) or the “March of the Nation” in Kyiv (Ukraine). 

 

The far right in Germany is divided over the war in Ukraine. A minority, such as the small neo-Nazi party “Der III. Weg,” are positioning themselves on the side of Ukraine. This is often the result of previous links to Ukrainian fascists. The majority of the extreme right, however, seems to position itself more pro-Putin or prefers pro-Russian neutrality. High-ranking AfD politicians, particularly, have repeatedly attracted attention due to their contact with Russia.  

Political Landscape

Political landscape

The far-right AfD is relatively isolated in Germany. All other major parties, including the CDU/CSU and the FDP, reject a coalition with it. 

However, at the local level, cooperation is below the level of coalitions in some municipalities. This happens particularly often in the state of Saxony. 

The AfD won 11% of the vote in the 2019 EU elections. Ten of its deputies are members of the far-right parliamentary group „Identity and Democracy“ in the European Parliament. 

Most currents of the extreme, conservative, and Christian right gather in the AfD. There are also individual members with neo-Nazi biographies, but the party is not a classical neo-Nazi party. No neo-Nazis, but the fascist New Right is organising in the wing around Björn Höcke. This wing is so strong that hardly any decisions against its will are possible within the AfD.  Leaked internal forums show that there is also a strong affinity for violence among the AfD’s middle-class members.

The open fascist wing of the AfD is trying to position the party as the parliamentary arm of right-wing street movements. To this end, the AfD also organises large demonstrations itself. 

A central goal of the far right is to strengthen German nationalism by trivialising or denying Nazi crimes. With this nationalisation, one hopes to initiate a re-homogenization of Germany.

Media Landscape

Media landscape

In Germany, the far right has several magazines (CATO, COMPACT, “Deutsche Stimme,” “Zuerst!”, …) and a weekly newspaper (“Junge Freiheit”). While the weekly newspaper is also aimed at a more academic and conservative audience, COMPACT and “Zuerst!” have more tabloid style. COMPACT, in particular, is a forum for various conspiracy theories. COMPACT is the organ for right-wing street movements like PEGIDA or Querdenken.

Financial Landscape

Financial landscape

In the early days, the AfD’s election campaign was supported with around 10 million euros via an independent association as start-up aid. The money was used to rent posters, place ads and finance pro-AfD campaign newspapers. Journalistic research suggests that the money came from billionaire August François von Finck (1930-2021). 

Reports

Quarterly Reports

Quarterly reports give in-depth insights into the most pressing recent social and political developments in each country as they pertain to the local far-right networks and their international allies.

Germany - July 2022
Germany - July 2022

Introduction In Germany the far right in Germany was in July preparing for the coming crisis (energy, inflation) to profite from the anger of the people. In addition, cooperation between the extreme right from Germany and extreme right from Belgium, Austria, Canada and the USA was observed in July.
Updates in the National Landscape In view of the looming energy problems due to gas shortages in autumn, far right-wingers in Germany are preparing for coming unrest. The Green Party, “Fridays for Future” and the USA are the marked enemy. Nuclear power and an end to sanctions against Russia are promoted as solutions. (German: https://www.belltower.news/kommentar-zur-energiekrise-von-gasknappheit-zu-panikmache-rechtsaussen-135257/) The AfD continues to prepare for the issue of inflation and increased energy prices as a campaign theme. The protests are to start in the fall. (German: https://www.rnd.de/politik/neue-kampagne-der-afd-wie-die-partei-das-inflationsthema-fuer-sich-nutzen-will-Y4YWHMHUMRE7JDZ42N7VT7STQI.html) On July 4, 2022, the AfD launched as a first step a campaign on the topic of inflation. It blamed inflation primarily on the government and its taxes.
In response to the July 2022 heat wave, the AfD and other far right tried to portray it as normal and continue to engage in climate change denial.
The softliners of the AfD are leaving the party after the fascist wing got more power. For example on July 7, 2022, Christopher Emden, a member of the AfD parliament in Lower Saxony, resigned from his party.
There are still trials on the case of far right terrorism in Germany. One of the ended in July. On 15 July 2022, the former soldier Franco Albrecht was sentenced by a court in Frankfurt to five years and six months imprisonment for right-wing terrorism (“preparation of a serious act of violence endangering the state”) as well as violations of the Weapons Act, embezzlement and fraud.
There are also cases of (probably far right motivated) attacks where the offenders stayed unknown. In the night of July 4 to 5, 2022, there was an explosive attack on the office of the Left Party in Oberhausen. (https://www.t-online.de/region/essen/id_100025952/anschlag-auf-oberhausener-linken-buero-ermittler-finden-sprengsatz.html)
Transnational Political and Financial Cooperation The AfD and her youth organisation “Junge Alternative” are still participating in international far right networks: * Members of the AfD and the “Junge Alternative” took part in the farmers’ protests in the Netherlands in July 2022.
(https://twitter.com/161Taunus/status/1546160253741432832) * Christine Anderson, MEP for the AfD, calls in the end of July with prominent anti-vaccination and corona-deniers for a „global walkout“. Her allies are: Robert Kennedy Junior (USA), Dr. Peter McCullough (USA), Dr. Robert Malone (USA), Christine Anderson (Germany), Mike Yeadon (UK), Jimmy Levy (USA), Morgan C. Jonas (Australia), Amanda Forbes (Canada), Alexander Tschugguel (Austria), Michael Matt (USA) and Monica Smit (Australia).
* On 29 July 2022, members of the “Junge Alternative” in Gent (Belgium) attended the summer barbecue of the “Vlaams Belang Jongeren”. * On 28-31 July 2022, members of the AfD youth organisation “Junge Alternative” visited, among others, the FPÖ youth organisation “Freiheitliche Jugend Kärnten” in Austria.
There are also collaborations in the field of music. For example on July 2, 2022, the “Despa memorial gig” of “Blood&Honour” took place in Croatia. 70 people from Croatia, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Slovenia and Switzerland participated. The bands “Feher Torveny” (Hungary), “Kodex Frei” (Germany) and “Smart Violence” (Germany) played.
In July 2022, the security authorities announced that since the beginning of the war, 31 journeys of “persons with extremist connections” from Germany to Ukraine had been registered and a total of 50 had attempted it. Eight of them wanted to take part in combat operations.
(German: https://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/ukraine-mehr-als-50-deutsche-extremisten-wollen-ins-kriegsgebiet-reisen-a-bdd109ae-50d9-4fbc-b45f-954571355a64)

Germany - June 2022
Germany - June 2022

Introduction

 
The AfD held its federal party conference and elected a new board. The influence of the fascist wing of the party was visible.Mobilizing issues common to the far right were discussed, amongst them „inflation“, the „energy crisis“ / sanctions against Russia and anti- „Pride Month“ narratives.
There were several cases of state actions against the far right, for example, Michael Ballweg, founder of „Querdenken“ was arrested.
In June 2022, it has been documented that the international far-right music network are becoming more active after the pandemic crisis. Bands from Germany went to foreign countries to play there or bands from foreign countries played in Germany.
In addition, there was a right-wing online radio project launched.
 

Updates in the National Landscape

 
The AfD federal party conference took place in Riesa from the 17th to the 19th of June. Party members elected the new federal executive committee. Two AfD members of the Bundestag, Tino Chrupalla and Alice Weidel, were elected as the new dual leadership. In addition to the Executive Board, the Federal Arbitration Court was elected. Furthermore, the decision was taken to remove the right-wing pseudo-union “Zentrum Automobil” from the incompatibility list, i.e. members of “Zentrum Automobil” could also become AfD members.
A resolution of the Höcke wing failed. It trivialized the “Ukraine conflict” and called for a “balance with Russia”. Nevertheless, experts viewed the results of the national party conference as evidence of the increased influence of the neo-fascist Höcke wing.
An important mobilization issue for the AfD in June 2022 was the topic of “saving energy”. In this context, the AfD turned against the government’s appeals to the population to save energy resulting from rising prices due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Above all, the AfD attacked the sanctions against Russia. In addition, the AfD committed itself to “saving” the internal combustion engine. Another mobilization theme of the AfD was the topic of “inflation”.
The entirety of the far right in Germany mobilized against Pride Month, which took place from the 1st to the 30th of June. In addition to organized campaigns by “Der III. Weg” and parts of the AfD, homophobic attacks and destruction of rainbow flags in many places has be observed.
Following the overturning of the Roe vs Wade verdict in the U.S. on June 24, 2022, the far right and Christian right in Germany also cheered the decision.
In the local elections in the state of Saxony on June 12th, 2022, the AfD and the “Free Saxons” recorded relatively good results in some cases. The AfD, which is strong in Saxony, was unable to win a single district council post.
(German: https://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/sachsen-cdu-bei-landratswahlen-vorn-afd-verliert-a-07a10386-1942-4b0f-a10e-998498f5c9159)
Also in June, there were cases of prevented far-right terrorism. In Potsdam, a minor was arrested on the 3rd of June, who allegedly planned a right-wing terrorist attack. He was active in the chat of a “Totenwaffen Division” and is said to have made his own explosive , incendiary devices and to have carried out first attempts at detonation. A photo of him shows him wearing a cap with an SS patch and flags with the Black Sun. He is being investigated on suspicion of preparing a serious act of violence threatening the state, violating the Explosives Act and using symbols of unconstitutional organizations. (German: https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/brandenburger-polizei-vereitelt-anschlagplaene-jugendlicher-neonazi-aus-potsdam-soll-sprengsaetze-gebaut-haben/28400458.html)

There were several cases of state actions against the far right

 
On June 16th, 2022, about 500 police officers searched 26 residences and commercial premises of neo-Nazis in Thuringia, Schleswig-Holstein and Berlin on charges of “gang drug trafficking,” money laundering and weapons law violations. There were 10 defendants, including four members of the “Turonen” and “Garde 20” or “Bruderschaft Thüringen,” and seven arrests. Confiscated, according to the press release, were “assets of around 1.4 million Euros, several crypto phones, a larger amount of cash and cryptocurrencies, a small amount of narcotics, anabolic steroids and three live firearms,” as well as “fake vaccination cards.” Additionally, two hand grenades were found. (German: https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/razzia-neonazis-101.htmlhttps://taz.de/Razzien-gegen-Thueringer-Turonen/!5861679/)
On June 20th, 2022, a trial began at the Munich Regional Court against 11 defendants of “Blood & Honour” for continuing the organization, which was banned in 2000. Among them is the alleged “Division Chief Germany” and three other “Section Chiefs” from Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia. There are 46 trial dates scheduled.
On June 29th, 2022, the apartment of Michael Ballweg was searched in Stuttgart. Ballweg was the founder of “Querdenken”, an important label of the Corona deniers. The premise of the raid were accusations of fraud and money laundering against him and one other suspect.
(https://www.t-online.de/nachrichten/deutschland/gesellschaft/id_92343772/polizei-nimmt-querdenken-gruender-michael-ballweg-fest.html)
 

Transnational Social Media Activity & Propaganda/Narratives

 
Jason Miller, CEO of the right-wing Twitter competitor „Gettr“, was a speaker at the summer party of the ultra-right weekly newspaper “Junge Freiheit” in Berlin on June 25, 2022.
On the same day, a right-wing meeting took place in Brandenburg, Germany, where Gettr CEO Jason Miller appeared and spoke in front of 400 people.
On the topic of music, there were also interesting developments in June 2022.

  • On June 3rd and 4th, 2022, a concert with the Croatian-ultranationalist musician Thompson took place at the “Seaside Club” in Böblingen (Baden-Württemberg). Most of the visitors came from the Croatian community in Germany.
  • According to the announcement, a right-wing rock concert with the band “Green Arrow” from Italy took place in Germany on June 11th, 2022.
  • On June 18th, 2022, the right-wing rock concert “Streetskids Party” took place in the Czech Republic. According to the announcement, the German right-wing rock bands “Endstufe” and “Schusterjungs” played alongside Czech bands.
     

    Transnational Political and Financial Cooperation

     
    The German media published the information that Franco A., who is currently on trial for right-wing terrorism in Frankfurt, attempted to get money from the Russian Foundation “Institute for Democracy and Cooperation” based in Paris.
    (German: https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article239040647/Russische-Stiftung-soll-rechtsextreme-Szene-in-Deutschland-finanziell-unterstuetzen.html)
    From June 10th  to 12th , 2022, the right-wing congress “Eternal EuropeNowa” took place in Warsaw. The list of participants includes Prof. David Engels from Poland/Belgium, Prof. Heinz Theisen (since 1997 professor of political science at the Catholic University of North Rhine-Westphalia in Cologne, is “islampolitical spokesman” of the right-wing conservative “Bürgerlich-Freiheitlicher Aufbruch”) from Germany. Among them were also Tory Baucum, Léon Krier and Grzegorz Lewicki.
    On June 21st, 2022, the right-wing online radio “Kontrafunk” started as a platform for AfD fans and Corona deniers. The radio is officially based in Cham, Switzerland. However, research showed that the headquarters is a letterbox company address. The trail leads to the right-wing conservative satirist Andreas Thiel. The official founder and owner of “Kontrafunk” is the journalist Burkhard Müller-Ullrich from Germany. He turned his back on serious media in 2017 and radicalized to the right during the Corona pandemic. The editorial stall consists according to Müller-Ullrich of 20 people who share twelve full-time jobs. One-third of them allegedly came from public service broadcasting and another from „Russia Today“. According to Müller-Ulrich, the radio had a start-up capital of 1,2 million Euro coming from 36 persons. (German: https://uebermedien.de/73663/kontrafunk-ein-radio-fuer-alle-die-an-corona-impfungen-klimawandel-und-allen-anderen-radios-zweifeln/)
    On June 23rd, 2022, the extreme-right “Ons Europa Forum” took place at the Trade Exchange in Antwerp, Belgium. An event of the Euro-right group “Identity&Democracy”, hosted by the Belgian extreme right party “Vlaams Belang”. Participants included Geert Wilders (PVV) from the Netherlands, Davide Quadri (Lega) from Italy, Judit Varga (Fidesz) from Hungary, André Ventura (Chega) from Portugal, Martin Helme (EKRE) from Estonia, Bob de Brabandere, Tom Van Grieken and Gerolf Annemans (“Vlaams Belang”) from Belgium, as well as representatives from the Republicans from the USA, Marine LePen (“Rassemblement National”) from France and Harald Villimsky (FPÖ) from Austria.Yuri Kofner, a staff member of the AfD in Bavaria, was also there. (English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BemE3PUPyyw)

Germany - May 2022
Germany - May 2022

Introduction

 
In May 2022 in Germany, there were at 1st of May the ‘traditional’ fascist rallies on „Workers Day“. They remember the time the Nazis celebrated the day as „Tag der deutschen Arbeit“ („Day of German work“). In May 2022 there were two elections in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein and the federal state of Nordrhein. Westfalen, is the biggest federal state in Germany. The AfD was the largest player among the far-right parties, but also the AfD lost the vote in both federal states, in Schleswig-Holstein they didn’t get re-elected. The Ukraine war and price increases continued to be defining themes of the far right in Germany.
 

Updates in the National Landscape

 
In the election in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein on 8 May 2022, the right-wing populist AfD won only 4.4% of the vote and was thus unable to re-enter the state parliament. It was the AfD’s first failed re-election. In the state election in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia on 15 May 2022, the AfD won only 5.4% of the votes and lost votes compared to the last election. These losses caused trouble and discussions about the strategy of the party. On May 20, 2022, Tagesschau published a report about an internal chat group called “Quasselgruppe” that was founded in 2017 and to which at least 76 of 92 AfD members of the Bundestag belonged. The internal communication showed not only the subversion fantasies of some deputies but also the deep divisions among them. (https://www.tagesschau.de/investigativ/ndr-wdr/afd-bundestagsfraktion-chats-101.html)
On May 1, 2022, Labor Day, several extreme right-wing demonstrations took place in Germany:
* In Zwickau (Saxony), “Der III. Weg” marched with 250 people. On the approach, leftists were attacked in the cities of Glauchau and Chemnitz.
* In Dortmund (North Rhine-Westphalia), “Die Rechte” marched with 200 to 300 people. Speakers were Sascha Krolzig, Thorsten Heise, Pierre-Marie Bonneau Pierre-Marie from France (lawyer for the CLAN) and representatives of the “Legion Hungaria” and the “Bulgarian National Alliance”, as well as a representative from the Czech Republic.
* In Erfurt (Thuringia), the “New Strength Erfurt” marched with 120 people. * In Zwönitz (Saxony), the “Free Saxons” marched with 200-260 people.
There are repeated house searches with weapons found against suspected right-wing terrorists. For example: On 12 May 2022, police in Essen seized material for several bombs, as well as right-wing extremist propaganda material, from a 16-year-old student. (https://news.yahoo.com/german-teen-detained-suspected-school-112505328.html)
 

Transnational Activities & Group Interactions

 
On May 1, 2022, in Dortmund allies from the fascist party „Die Rechte“, took part in the rally of the party (see above).
On the weekend of 7 May 2022, a neo-Nazi congress took place in Paris under the motto “NATO out – one Europe!”. The organiser was the organisation “Les Nationalistes France”. Delegations from the Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF) and Fortress Europe (FE) came with representatives from France, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic and Romania. Hervé van Laethem (Nation) from Belgium (Wallonia), as well as representatives from Portugal, Bulgaria and Italy, were connected via video stream. Individual participants were Claus Cremer (NPD, APF), Matthias Deyda (Die Rechte, FE), Pierre-Marie Bonneau (lawyer) from France, Yvan Benedetti (party leader of “Les Nationalistes”), Alexandre Brune (party “For the People – For France”), Gonzalo Martin (“Democracia Nacional”) from Spain and others. After the congress, they participated in the Jeanne D`Arc commemoration in Paris on 8 May.
From 19 to 23 May 2022, the right-wing lecture tour „Deutschland, was nun?“ (“Germany, what now?”) with Dr. Heinrich Fiechtner (ex-AfD-deputy), Michael Stürzenberger (anti-muslim-agitator), “Sebbe” (“Fakten Frieden Freiheit”), Miró Wolsfeld (far right blogger, “Unblogd”), Irfan Peci (nti-muslim-agitato, former islamist), Oliver Flesh, Maximilian Pütz (pick-up artist) and Gunnar Lindemann (AfD-deputy in Berlin) took place on Mallorca (Spain). It was probably a combination of vacation and agitation of German tourists.
At the “Conservative Political Action Conference Hungary” in Budapest (Hungary) on 19 and 20 May 2022, the anti-feminist Birgit Kelle from Germany also appeared as a speaker. Kelle is a member of the conservative CDU party. She can be categorized as part of the Christian right. Interestingly, no one from the AfD was invited.
There are extreme right-wingers in Germany who clearly posture themselves pro-Ukrainian and have connections with the far right in this country. The German neofascist Mailorder „PC Records“ announced at the beginning of May 2022 their support for Ukrainian Volunteers through their collaboration with the brand „Svastone“. from Ukraine The German neofascist Mail ordered „PC Records“ and „Oldschool Records“ and the band „Heiliger Krieg“ documented on the 11th of May 2022 their donations for Ukrainian Volunteers in the region of Odesa.
 

Transnational Developments on Discourse in Mainstream Media

 
The mainstream media spoke internationally about the Ukraine conflict, and some continued to argue about the character of the Azov regiment, which surrendered to the Russian invaders in Mariupol on May 20th, 2022. The high-circulation tabloid BILD headlined on May 20: “Das sind die Helden aus dem Mariupol-Stahlwerk” (English: “These are the heroes from the Mariupol steelworks”). (https://www.bild.de/politik/ausland/politik-ausland/sie-gehen-in-die-geschichte-ein-das-sind-die-helden-aus-dem-mariupol-stahlwerk-80155482.bild.html)
 

Transnational Social Media Activity & Propaganda/Narratives

 
Further, the core of right-wing pandemic deniers are still entering the streets with their rallies. The movement is partly trying to change the topic to the Ukraine war. They clearly support Putin-Russia and are currently the strongest promoters of pro-Putin propaganda in Germany. Inflation and especially high fuel prices were discussed as another mobilization issue.
In Germany, pro-Putin car rallies took place from the end of March 2022, sometimes involving several hundred cars and people. Officially, many of these demonstrations were directed against “Russophobia”, but partisanship with Putin-Russia was usually clearly visible.

Germany - April 2022
Germany - April 2022

On the 6 April 2022, the police raided 61 properties and issued arrests “on suspicion of right-wing extremist offenses” against 49 people. The searches took place in 11 federal states by 800 police officers. The measures were directed against ten members of the “Atomwaffen Division Deutschland” (AWD), five members of the German AWWD spin-off “Sonderkommando 1418” (SKD 1418), 21 members of “Combat 18 Deutschland” and 14 members of “Knockout 51”, a neo-Nazi martial arts group in Eisenach. (German: https://www.presseportal.de/blaulicht/pm/amp/14981/5189967, German: https://autonome-antifa.org/?breve8267, English: https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjb5wp/germany-police-neo-nazi-raid)
On the 13 April 2022, 21 house raids and arrests were made in Germany against 12 people from right-wing chat groups called “Vereinte Patrioten” and “Aktive Veteranen und Patrioten”, which had 70 members. Four were taken into custody. According to the indictment, the group planned to cause a blackout, kidnap the Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and carry out a coup d’état. For this, they intended to buy weapons, mines, and protective equipment for several tens of thousands of Euros. All those involved belonged to the scene of pandemic deniers and “Reichsbürger”, the latter invoke the continued existence of the German Reich and don´t recognise the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany and its institutions.
Thomas O. from Neustadt an der Weinstraße and Sven B.(54) from Falkensee near Berlin, the two alleged leaders were members of the GDR army “Nationale Volksarmee”, one of them as an officer. Thomas O. was arrested at a fake gun shop while trying to buy two Kalashnikovs and five pistols, as well as ammunition.
A Kalashnikov assault rifle and an SS uniform were found on Sven B.. Apparently, there had already been spying actions before. Sven B. posted a photo in front of the letterbox of Ursula Nonnemnacher, a minister in Brandenburg, in January 2021. Sven B. had participated several times in marches aiming at overthrow but had hardly attended. (German: https://beta.t-online.de/nachrichten/panorama/kriminalitaet/id_92048794/-vereinte-patrioten-das-staatsstreichkommando-von-der-nva.html, German: http://www.fr.de/politik/querdenker-karl-lauterbach-entfuehrung-polizei-ermittlungen-gesundheitsminister-news-zr-91479623.html, German: https://www.tagesschau.de/investigativ/report-mainz/razzien-vereinte-patrioten-101.html) There was a first meeting on 11 December 2021 near Bendorf in Rheinland-Pfalz, which was organised by Thomas O.. A second meeting took place on 15 January 2022 in Nottertal- Heilinger Höhen (Thüringen) and a third on 19 March 2022 in a barbecue hut near Queienfeld (Thüringen). (German: https://www.belltower.news/vereinte-patrioten-vom-protest-zum-terror-die-radikalisierung-von-thomas-o-130453/)
The authorities stated in April 2022 that the extreme right-wing movement of the “Reichsbürger” in Germany has grown to an estimated 21,000 people.
(German: https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/die-waffenaffinitaet-hat-noch-zugenommen-reichsbuerger-szene-waechst-auf-mindestens-21-000-menschen/28279318.html)
 

The German Extreme Right in the Russia-Ukraine War

 
AfD members also continued to spread Russian fake news in reports about the massacre in Butscha from 3 April 2022, in some cases directly questioning Russian perpetration. Examples include Maximilian Krah (AfD MEP), Karsten Hilse (AfD MP), Johannes Normann (AfD Bavaria), Hans-Thomas Tillschneider (AfD Saxony-Anhalt) and Gunnar Lindemann (AfD Senator Berlin). (German: https://taz.de/Nach-Massaker-in-Butscha/!5847874/, German: https://www.endstation-rechts.de/news/afd-politiker-als-treue-stimme-russlands)
Extreme right-wing German-language media conducted interviews with extreme right-wingers fighting in Ukraine: For example, the Austrian right-wing “Tagesstimmel” published an interview with Azov commander Serhiy Tamarin in Mariupol on 2 April 2022. Tamarin tries to portray Azov as normal: “The Azov regiment is a highly motivated, professional part of the Ukrainian army, nothing more.” (German: https://www.tagesstimme.com/2022/04/02/azov-kommandant-im-interview-der-angriff-hat-unser-land-geeint)
 

International Contacts

 
On 2 April 2022, the congress of the “Iliade Institute” took place in Paris. Volker Zierke, Holger Birke and Benedikt Kaiser took part in it. All three are representatives of the radical ‘New Right’ in Germany.
On 23 April 2022, the “2nd European Local Politics Forum” was held at the “Kultur+Kongress Zentrum Rosenheim KU’KO” in Rosenheim, Bavaria, with 150 participants. The event was organised by the AfD. Announced participants were Paolo Borchia (Lega), Virginie Jorona (Rassemblement National), Tom Vandendriessche (Vlaams Belang), Jaak Madison (Eesti Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond), Maximilian Krauss (FPÖ, RFJ), Harald Vilimsky (FPÖ), Johannes Hübner (FPÖ), Dominic Maier (FPÖ), L’udovit Guga (Sme rodina), Filip Brusselmans (Vlaams Belang), Steffen Beckmann (AfD), Collin McMahon (GETTR), Erika Steinbach (AfD), Andreas Winhart (AfD) and Markus Buchheit (AfD).
From 20 to 27 April 2022, AfD MEP Maximilian Krah and several members of the “Junge Alternative” (including Severin Köhler and Vadim Derksen) travelled to the USA. In New York, a friendship agreement was concluded between the “Junge Alternative” and the “New York Young Republicans” and in Washington, the AfD/JA members met with Steve Bannon.
On 30 April 2022, a congress of the European alliance “Fortress Europe” took place in Dortmund under the motto “Europe awake!”. In Germany, the neo-Nazi party “Die Rechte” belongs to this alliance. Speakers were from the “Bulgarian National Alliance”, the “National Action Front” (Switzerland), the “Legio Hungaria” (Hungary), the “Parti Nationaliste Français” (PNF), the National Resistance (Netherlands) and the group “Nationalists” (Czech Republic) were involved.
(German: https://die-rechte.net/lv-nordrhein-westfalen/kv-dortmund/bericht-zum-fortress-europe-kongress-in-dortmund/)

Germany - March 2022
Germany - March 2022

On March 3, 2022, a court confirmed that the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) may be classified as a “suspicious case” by the domestic intelligence service “Verfassungsschutz”. This means that in the long term, civil servants who are members of the AfD could face problems under professional law (Berufsrecht//). (German: https://www.vg-koeln.nrw.de/behoerde/presse/Pressemitteilungen/06_08032022/index.php)
Since then, several elected officials have left the AfD.
Several extreme right-wing officials died in Germany in March 2022. In mid-March, it became known that the anti-Islam publicist Michael Merkle (“Michael Mannheimer”) had died. (German: https://www.endstation-rechts.de/news/fanatischer-islamhasser-michael-mannheimer-gestorben) In addition, on March 19, 2022, Reichsbürger activist Dr. Rigolf Hennig passed away.
 

The German far right and the Russia-Ukraine war

 
The far right in Germany continues to be divided over the issue of taking sides in the Ukraine war. The extreme right-wing AfD, for example, officially condemns the Russian war of aggression, but members of the party continue to spread Russian propaganda lies.
For example, Thuringia’s AfD faction leader Björn Höcke claimed that there are American bioweapons in Ukraine. (German: https://taz.de/Die-AfD-und-der-Krieg-in-der-Ukraine/!5844230/)
On March 16 2022, the extreme right-wing Jungeuropa publishing house announced that its author Mykola Kravchenko, a Ukrainian fascist, had been killed in action in Ukraine. He had written a foreword for the German edition of the Ukrainian publication “Natiokratie” for the Jungeuropa publishing house.
According to authorities, 28 extreme right-wingers from Germany have travelled to Ukraine, but only three of them have been involved in fighting. Also the fascist German party “Der III. Weg” was searching for homes for their Ukrainian comrades and their families. (German: https://der-dritte-weg.info/2022/03/nationalisten-helfen-nationalisten-unterkuenfte-fuer-ukrainische-nationalisten-gesucht/)
A part of the extreme right is also ‘engaged’ beyond direct fighting in Ukraine:
The Identitarians organised help for refugees – of course only if they are white:
„We are not passive in this time of war. This week identitarian activists from Denmark, Hungary and France will go to the Ukrainian border with supplies for the refugees there. You can support us by donating by thursday (3rd of march) morning at the latest, as we will do the last shopping early on thursday. All donations received in this period will go directly to this mission. As Europeans, it is important that we support each other when times are. We are many different peoples in Europe. Even though we each have our own history and culture, we are also connected to each other. We share the past, and also the future. When the events take place right outside our own doorstep, then it’s time to show solidarity.“ Identitarians from Germany, Denmark, France and Hungary met at 5th of March 2022 in Budapest to help refugees from Ukraine. (German: https://aktionsmelder.de/2022/03/07/hilfsaktionen-fuer-ukrainische-fluechtlinge-in-ungarn/)
The fascist network „Europa Terra Nostra“ organized with the association „Det Fria Sverige“ in Sweden the support for a Children’s Hospital in Lwiw.
The neo-Nazi party “Der III. Weg” delivered army clothes and other things to the Ukraine. They allegedly delivered 800 Bundeswehr cold weather suits, 200 British Army combat vests, four flak jackets, 24 radios and three thermal imaging cameras. (German: https://taz.de/Rechtsextreme-und-der-Ukrainekrieg/!5845602/)
Right wing football Hooligans organized also support for far right fighters in the Ukraine: „The Hooligans of Bfc Dynamo and Hertha berlin + friends support our brothers, the warriors of ukraine from dynamo kiev. Today we send a transport car with supplies to the border. This includes highest quality full body armour, helmets, medi kits, tactical boots and magagzine carriers. Not so much as we hope for but everything in special force quality from germany. Hope it will reach you soon and help to beat the red pigs. Thanks to all volunteers! We do our best for next supplies in this week“ (Quote Telegram, March 2022)
 

International Contacts

 
The police in Germany forbid at 16 March 2022 the Spanish fascist Isabel Peralta (19) from „Bastion Frontal“ to enter the country. She transported in her package a swastika flag and the book „Mein Kampf“ by Hitler. (German: https://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/frankfurt-polizei-verweigert-spanischer-rechtsextremistin-isabel-peralta-die-einreise-a-8b2927ae-3c3d-4496-b028-23b1e193219a)
On March 12 2022, representatives of the AfD youth organization “Junge Alternative” attended a congress of “Vlaams Belang Jongeren,” youth organization of “Vlaams Belang,” in Antwerp (Belgium). There were also delegations from Netherlands, Italy, France and Hungary.
The AfD youth organization “Junge Alternative” (JA) participated in a meeting of “Das Jongeren Forum voor Democratie (JFvD)”, the youth organization of the “Forum voor Democratie”, in the Netherlands on March 20 and 21, 2022. Representative of the “Junge Alternative” was Tomasz Froelich, deputy federal chairman of the JA.

Germany - February 2022
Germany - February 2022

At the beginning of January 2022, the right-wing weekly newspaper “Junge Freiheit” initiates a campaign against the Interior Minister, Nancy Faeser, because she had written a commentary in the magazine “antifa” in the past, the paper of the “Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes – Bund der Antifaschist*innen”. The tabloid BILD, the magazine Cicero and the newspaper “Die Welt” jump on the right-wing campaign, as well as the extreme right-wing party AfD and the conservative party CDU. The CDU even requested a topical hour for February 17, 2022 in the Bundestag on, among other things, “…and publication of government members in magazines of left-wing extremist influenced organizations.” (German: https://www.bundestag.de/dokumente/textarchiv/2022/kw07-de-aktuelle-stunde-strassenblockade-881044)
In Fulda the police found dozens of weapons (firearms, ammunition, flares, cutting, stabbing and thrusting weapons, such as brass knuckles, daggers, knives and camouflaged stun guns and Nazi memorabilia) in the former home of a 37-year-old man during a house search in early February 2022. (German: https://www.ffh.de/nachrichten/hessen/osthessen/297016-fulda-dutzende-waffen-in-wohnung-sichergestellt.html)
On February 7, 2022, the neo-Right publicist Günter Maschke, born in 1943, died in Frankfurt/Main. He was a follower of the constitutional lawyer Carl Schmitt and used to defend the dictatorship of Hitler in the beginning of his career path. (German: https://www.spiegel.de/kultur/guenter-maschke-nachruf-von-ganz-links-nach-ganz-rechts-a-2f9a106e-9555-4b73-858f-e769bf4e3d51)
On February 11, 2022, Telegram blocked 64 channels due to pressure from the German government. The government threatened the company with fines of up to 55 million Euros. The channels of the anti-Semite Attila Hildmann were affected. (German: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/telegram-kanaele-sperrung-1.5527255)
On February 11, 2022, the federal police in North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) prevented the departure of three extreme right-wingers to Bulgaria to participate in the fascist Lukov March. (German: https://mobile.twitter.com/glr_berlin/status/1493330361656426498)
On February 13, 2022, about 800 neo-Nazis marched in Dresden to commemorate the bombing of Dresden. (German: https://taz.de/77-Jahrestag-des-Bombenangriffs/!5831307/)
The AfD was convicted in mid-February 2022 for violating party donation bans and have to pay a fine of approximately 108,000 Euros. The reason was the financing of the congress “European Visions Visions for Europe” on February 13, 2016 in Düsseldorf with an amount of 36,137 Euros by Goal AG, based in Switzerland. (German: https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/verbotene-parteispende-duesseldorfer-europa-kongress-wird-teuer-fuer-die-afd/28075474.html)
In mid-February, the AfD decided to put the regional party “Freie Sachsen”, which is heavily involved in the Corona protests in Saxony, on its incompatibility list. Members of “Free Saxony” can thus not be members of the AfD.
 

The German extreme right in the Russia-Ukraine war

 
The Russian invasion of Ukraine took the far right in Europe and Germany by surprise. Even before that, it was divided over its relationship with Putin’s Russia. In Germany, most of the far right was more pro-Putin. There were different reasons for this stance:

  1. Their anti-Western attitude and an admiration for the autocrat Putin, who is considered a representative of ultra-conservative values. His passing of anti-LGBTQI+ laws, such as the “homosexual propaganda,” is just one example.
  2. From the Kremlin and its oligarch environment there was always a flow of funding (e.g. the loans for the “Front National”) and recognition for the extreme right. AfD deputies who appeared in Crimea, in the Donbass separatist regions, in Russia itself as “election observers” or were invited to conferences and treated like statesmen.
  3. In the case of the AfD, there is certainly the additional factor that conservative ‘Spätaussiedler’ (Russian Germans from the former Soviet Union who migrated to Germany) have been sought as voters. Here, the Russian state media and their narratives are strongly received. Some representatives of this group are also active in the AfD themselves.
  4. A few extreme right-wingers in Germany are supporters of the Eurasia concept a la Alexandr Dugin. Many, however, reject it because it is too obviously an underpinning for Greater Russia ambitions.
  5. Parts of pandemic deniers and the Anastasia movement found Putin great because they utilised him as a projection screen for their ideas.
  6. The ethnocentric glasses of the extreme right also led them to consider the annexation of Crimea and the separatist efforts in the Donbass as legitimate. After all, their ethnopluralism strives for the division of the world along linguistic and religious lines.
     
    Many Putin supporters were taken by surprise by the invasion of Ukraine and in reaction to it, out of insight, under pressure from the public or out of opportunism, they at least publicly corrected and adjusted their position. The most important example is the federal AfD, which has condemned the invasion. At the same time, it tries to place the blame or partial blame on the West or NATO. The AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag showed this by remaining seated when all other MPs greeted the Ukrainian ambassador standing. Within the AfD, there continues to be a range of positions on the war. Individual AfD MEPs such as Gunnar Lindemann (Berlin), Hans-Thomas Tillschneider (Saxony-Anhalt) or Jörg Dornau (Saxony) express relatively open understanding for Putin. (German: https://correctiv.org/aktuelles/2022/02/28/russlands-krieg-entlarvt-europas-rechte/) They are mostly people from the Höcke wing of the party.
    Within the extreme right in Germany, there are a total of three factions:
  7. Putin-Supporters
     
    The COMPACT magazine is worth mentioning here, which continues to remain loyal to Putin. Many lateral thinkers have suddenly rediscovered their sympathy for Putin. This is mainly explained by their conspiracy-ideological worldview. If what thhoaxe government and the established media say and write is a, then that is also the case with regard to the war in Ukraine. Nowhere does one encounter so much Kremlin propaganda as in the channels of the pandemic deniers. I have also made the observation that the authoritarian character among the pandemic deniers wish for an authoritarian liberator who would clean up everything. Yesterday it was Trump (QAnon) and today it is Putin.
     
    2. Support of the Ukrainian Side.
    Here, once again, two sub-factions can be distinguished:
    2.1. Support of Ukrainian fascists: In part, as with “Der III. Weg”, it had already been in contact and exchange with Ukrainian fascists before. The newly founded “New Strength Party” positions itself like “Der III. Weg”. The neo-Nazi label PC-Records, which sold Azov t-shirts in the past, also calls for donations for the Ukrainian comrades on its Telegram channel. There are reports of volunteers from these circles on the Ukrainian side, but so far there is little evidence to support these reports.
    (German: https://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/2022-03/rechtsextremismus-neonazis-rekrutierung-russland-ukraine-krieg)
    Hooligans of BFC Dynamo and Hertha Berlin supported far right Hooligans of Dynamo Kiev with full body armour, helmets, medi kits, tactical boots and magazine carriers „to beat the red pigs“ (quote Telegram).
    2.2. General support for the Ukrainian side: For example, the weekly newspaper “Junge Freiheit” (JF) generally supports the Ukrainian side. JF editor-in-chief Dieter Stein had long criticized COMPACT’s Pro-Putin course.
     
    3. Neutralism
    Among neo-Nazis and other fascists, it is probably the most who, under the label of “No more brotherwars”, regret that whites are killing each other. Often, in addition, understanding for each side is expressed.
     
    ** Other **
    In addition to the question of fundamental partisanship, there is also the issue of how to deal with refugees from Ukraine. Part of the far right is in favor of accepting Ukrainian refugees because they are white, come from a Christian cultural area and are primarily women and children. This is how parts of the AfD argue, for example.
    Other extreme right-wingers believe that the zero-migration principle should be broken.
    With their enthusiasm for war and soldierly masculinity, many extreme right-wingers succumb to the call of the war horns despite all official rejection of war. Several people from the Jungeuropa publishing house are on the road as onlookers, and Martin Sellner indulges his fascination as a kitchen-table strategist who has to explain the course of the front several times a day.
     

    International Contacts

     
    On February 4th  and 5th, 2022, members of the AfD youth organization “Junge Alternative” from Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia attended an event of the “Rassemblement National” with Marine LePen in Reims (France). They also met with members of “Vlaams Belang Jongeren,” the youth organization of the “Vlaams Belang” party from Belgium.
    The fascist party „Der III. Weg“ announced for the 6th of February 2022 an interview with a representative of the organisation „Sokil“, youth wing of Svoboda party from Ukraine. The representative of „Sokil“ expressed his hope that „many [foreign] Nationalists would come to Ukraine“, if they will start a war.
    Markus Frohnmaier (AfD-MdB) visited, apparently as a simple participant, the “Conservative Political Action Conference”, which took place from February 24th to 27th, 2022 in Orlando/Florida (USA) and there, met the British right-wing populist Nigel Farage, who was invited as a speaker. Norbert Kleinwächter, deputy leader of the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, also attended the conference. The star speaker was Donald Trump.
    Jason Miller from the U.S., CEO of the right-wing Twitter competitor Gettr, met with Dieter Stein, editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper “Junge Freiheit” at its headquarters in Berlin around February 25, 2022.
    On February 27th, 2022, the neo-Nazi party “Der III. Weg” interviewed Thomas Ryan Rousseau, leader “Patriot Front” from Texas, about the current political situation in the USA.
    The British far-right author and vlogger Edward Dutton is announced as lecturer of the „GegenUni“, an online ‘academy’ for the far right, after March 2022.According to Wikipedia he lives in Oulu, and is married to a Finnish woman.
    The US-American Jason Köhne was interview partner of the magazine “Deutsche Stimme” in the March 2022 issue.

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Analysis

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