Germany: Neo-Nazi leader resigns amid allegations of sexual assault
The chair of the anti-Semitic, racist National Democratic Party (NPD) in Germany, Holger Apfel, has given up all of his posts and left the party after 24 years of involvement. The former leader of the German neo-Nazis wrote today to the party membership that he was forced to resign by "internal intrigue, insulting dissension and rising pressure" which has exhausted him such that he no longer wants to deal with it.
It has also been reported that the real reason for his resignation are allegations that he has been sexually harassing young neo-Nazis. The Deutsche Presse-Agentur first reported those allegations, which were then confirmed by the MDR television station in Germany.
One such case of harassment allegedly occurred during the party's parliamentary campaign last August. The victim is said to be Daniel S. (age 20), a student of the College for Science, Technology and Culture in Leipzig.
Reportedly the NPD even has a video recording of the incident which has been circulating. Holger Szymanski, the head of the NPD in Saxony, also claims that a drunken Apfel sexually assaulted two other young men.
Apfel has defended himself in his statement about his departure from the NPD and says he cannot recall the August evening in question because he was drunk at the time. He has been involved in the party, which German counter-intelligence classifies as anti-Semitic and racist, since the 1980s and ran its youth organization, Junge Nationaldemokraten, from 1994 - 1999.
In September 2004 Apfel was elected leader of the NPD candidate list in the elections for the state legislature in Saxony, during which his party won 9.2 % of the vote. He then became head of the NPD faction in that body.
NPD legislators have incited hatred against foreigners and Jews and have refused to participate in commemorations for the victims of Nazism. The online edition of the Czech weekly Reflex reports that the ARD television station in Germany described Apfel as having taken over management of the entire NPD in 2012 and promoting so-called "serious radicalism".
"Instead of shaved heads, military clodhoppers and provocative shouting, he wanted to curry favor through politics conducted in suits from the benches of the legislature," Reflex says. The situation in the party is now very exacerbated and some of Apfel's fellow-travellers are attacking him harshly.
One party member even suggested Apfel shoot himself in the head. "The only advice I can give the outgoing chair of the NPD consists of a pistol and a single bullet," an NPD candidate who unsuccessfully ran for the Saxony-Anhalt legislature posted to Facebook.
Reflex reports that the entire case is very similar to that of another ultra-right affair elsewhere in Europe. "While their members ostentatiously fight against homosexuals, they sometimes succumb to the pleasures of persons of the same sex. The Austrian politician and representative of the ultra-right, Jörg Haider, who died in an automobile accident in 2008, was also suspected of homosexual contacts. In 2009 the Austrian courts banned the spreading of such rumors under the threat of high fines. According to one press article, Haider got drunk before his fatal accident in a gay club in Klagenfurt and a young man there claimed that Haider was one of his lovers. It is well-known that during the interwar period the German Nazis had many members in their ranks who were secret homosexuals attracted to the Nazi cult of masculinity," Reflex reports.
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