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German neo-Nazis making millions on racist music and promotional materials

Germany, 24.8.2012 21:48, (ROMEA)

Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) is making millions through the sale of clothing, promotional materials and recorded music featuring hateful, racist content. Last year their receipts from the sale of such promotional materials even exceeded the amount of financing they receive from the state.

German experts say the part of the music scene dominated by neo-Nazi groups in Saxony, to which the NPD has ties, made EUR 3.5 million last year. That amount is more than the annual contribution received by the NPD from Germany's federal budget, which is roughly EUR 3 million.

In addition to music with hate content, experts say the NPD is also making money through the sale of clothing, jewelry and other items used daily that feature symbols linked to neo-Nazism. Experts say these sales serve two purposes; in addition to increasing income, they serve as propaganda for the ultra-right party.

The NPD, which has roughly 6 000 members, is currently represented in the state-level parliaments of Mecklenburg - Western Pomerania and Saxony. However, the party has long struggled with low levels of financial support. Its situation has also been complicated by a high fine assessed against it by a court in 2009 for mistakes in a accounting report.

In the Czech Republic, the Workers Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS), the successor to the dissolved neo-Nazi Workers Party (Dělnická strana - DS) is in close contact with the NPD. The DSSS regularly invites German right-wing extremists to its demonstrations, such as to this year's 1 May action in Prague, which was attended by two German neo-Nazis.

One of those special guests was Karl Richter, the vice-chair of the NPD who has been active on the neo-Nazi scene since the 1980s. During his career Richter has made no secret of his admiration for Hitler's Third Reich and has publicly lobbied against anti-Nazis, ethnic minorities, migrants, and sexual minorities. One episode illustrative of his activity was his giving the Nazi salute at the town hall in Munich when he took the oath of office as a town councilor there. He was elected to the town council in 2008, representing the "Bürgerinitiative Ausländerstopp" group (Citizens Initiative to Stop Foreigners), which won 1.4 % of the vote.

The other neo-Nazi who came to Prague was Simon Preisinger, district chair of the NPD for Beirat and Tirschenreuth (Upper Palatinate). Preisinger also leads the neo-Nazi group Freies Netz Süd (Free Network South - FNS). He has strong ties to the structures that grew out of the ruins of the Czech neo-Nazi National Resistance group (Národní odpor - NO) in the Karlovy Vary region and from the NO in Krušnohoří, currently led by DSSS activist Lukáš Stoupa, who was convicted of a brutal attack on a Romani minor.

The DSSS has concluded a cooperation agreement with the NPD. Together, the parties are focusing on propaganda against immigration and on cross-border collaboration at the municipal level.

Udo Voigt, a former NPD chair, was invited to the Czech Republic by the DSSS last year. Four years ago, Voigt questioned the extent of the murder of Jewish people during the Second World War. He has also demanded the return of territory lost by Germany after 1945, including part of the territory of the Czech Republic, the Sudetenland, which Hitler attached to the Reich. Both NPD members and persons sympathetic to them have been tried several times in Germany for their revisionist speeches and statements bordering on Holocaust denial.

ČTK, František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, František Kostlán, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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