German elite soldiers’ neo-nazi scandal continues

This 28 May 2020 video is called Germany’s KSK commando unit in turmoil over neo-Nazi infiltration.

Translated from Judith van de Hulsbeek, Dutch NOS radio correspondent in Germany, 30 July 2020:

After a series of right-wing extremist incidents and whistleblower warnings, the Ministry of Defense is going to do something about the army’s German elite unit, the Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK). A company [the second company] within the KSK will be immediately disbanded, international missions will be immediately cancelled. Elite soldiers who are currently abroad will be brought back to Germany.

The KSK has been in the news in recent years due to right-wing extremist incidents. Three years ago, it turned out that KSK soldiers

‘Soldiers’ may mean privates. But in this case, it was about senior officers.

do the Hitler salute at parties and listen to right-wing extremist music. In recent times, a KSK soldier was arrested, among other things, because he had built up a weapons arsenal at home and accused of having prepared an armed attack.

Culture of looking away

In early June, an officer in the unit sent an urgent letter to the Secretary of Defense in which he wrote that there was a culture of looking away. Right-wing extremist views, he wrote, are ignored and even tolerated.

One of the training officers is said to be openly neo-Nazi and nicknamed himself Y-88. 88 stands for ‘Heil Hitler’, as the eighth letter of the alphabet. The trainer was only fired after more than ten years. People like that are no exceptions, according to the officer. He called on the minister to tackle the ‘uncontrollable swamp’.

The ministry has submitted to the KSK a list of more than 60 requirements for reform. Not only is a company dissolved and international missions scrapped, all soldiers will also be questioned again about their views.

Furthermore, there will be more supervision of the training and the weapons stocks will be more strictly controlled. Inspections revealed that tens of thousands of ammunition and kilos of explosives had disappeared. Military intelligence must from now on also cooperate with the ‘ordinary’ secret service.

There are extreme rightists in the military intelligence, but there are also extreme rightists in the civilian secret service with which it must now cooperate.

Self-cleaning ability

The problem with right-wing extremism has been going on for a long time and something really needs to change now, the ministry thinks. “If the KSK does not prove that it has a self-cleaning ability, the question is whether it should continue to exist in this form,” State Secretary of Defense Tauber wrote in the letter to the Bundestag. The unit has until October to make improvements.

See also here. And here.

German policemen’s neo-nazi network discovered

This August 2013 video says about itself:

German police and security services have been severely criticised for failing to tackle neo-Nazi violence.

Members of an extreme right-wing cell called the National Socialist Underground killed 10 people over seven years without being caught.

Now a parliamentary report says police dramatically underestimated the neo-Nazi threat.

Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips reports from Berlin.

On 25 June 2020, German broadcasting organisation WDR reported that a neo-nazi network had been discovered in the police force of Aachen city.

Police officers greeted one another with ‘Heil Hitler‘ on police communications gear. Their job then was to protect the Aachen synagogue from neonazi violence.

In an internet chat group of at least four Aachen policemen, in which nazi swastikas, photos of Adolf Hitler and racist comments were exchanged.

Neo-nazi network in German armed forces

This 28 May 2020 video is called Germany’s KSK commando unit in turmoil over neo-Nazi infiltration.

By Gregor Link in Germany:

Fascist network uncovered in German Army’s Special Forces unit

18 June 2020

On Friday, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on a 12-page letter sent by a sergeant in the Army’s Special Forces commando unit (Kommando Spezialkräfte—KSK) to Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. The letter makes clear that the 1,100-strong unit, which operates in top secrecy and specialises in lethal operations, is directed toward suppressing domestic opposition with the methods of fascist terrorism. According to the letter, some of the KSK soldiers compare the unit to Hitler’s Waffen-SS.

Right-wing extremist tendencies” are “tolerated” in the KSK and “sometimes consciously covered up”, wrote Der Spiegel, based on the soldier’s letter. According to the author of the article, evidence of the presence of right-wing extremist soldiers is “internally acknowledged, but for a variety of motives collectively ignored or even tolerated.” It is “drummed into” the soldiers from their superiors “not to report any incidents”.

According to the news magazine, the letter describes “accurately” and “in detail” how the trainers silence their recruits. They are “taught to be subservient”, which, in the words of the commando soldier, is “incompatible with the limits of the system of orders and obedience in the Army.”

The letter states that “To bring soldiers and, above all, critical officers into line”m “punishments” are used to create a “type of carcass obedience” and “a culture of accepting illegal behaviour”. Through the “firm leadership of newly recruited KSK fighters in training”, the recruits are “taught a rigorous obedience”, which, according to the text of the letter cited by Der Spiegel, “has been compared by commando soldiers in training to that of the Waffen-SS.”

The soldier goes into detail about the fascist outlook of his trainers. He says that one of them, who always uses Nazi codes in radio communications, makes no secret of his “national conservative ideology.”

One of the trainers mentioned in the letter is Daniel K., who, according to Deutsche Welle, was “heavily involved in the founding of the elite unit” and previously, in 2007, attracted notice due to his right-wing extremist ideology. At the time, he sent a threatening letter signed with his full name to a higher-ranked Army officer. That officer, a spokesman for the critical soldiers’ organisation “Darmstädter Signal”, had requested on the grounds of conscience to be relieved from duties related to drone operations in southern Afghanistan.

K. wrote at the time, “I deem you to be an internal enemy and will direct my actions to destroy this enemy with a decisive blow.” He attacked the “contemporary conglomerate of left-wing uniform-wearing recipients of care,” and urged the critical officer to return “to the swamp of Stone Age Marxism.” In conclusion, he warned, “You are being observed, no, not by impotent instrumentalised services, but by a new generation of officers who will act if the times demand it.” He wrote in the postscript, “Long live holy Germany!”

The officer filed a formal complaint concerning the threat, but no action was taken in response to K.’s letter, other than it being noted in K.’s personnel file. Although his superiors knew by 2007 at the latest that K. was a right-wing extremist, he was allowed to continue training soldiers and rose through the ranks to become a lieutenant colonel.

He was suspended in 2019 only after it emerged he was a supporter of the far-right “Reichsbürger” and the right-wing extremist “Identitarian Movement”. According to media reports, he claimed that the state no longer had the situation under control due to the influx of immigrants, meaning that “the Army now has to take things over.”

The author of the letter to the defence minister stressed that it would be “naive” to view K. as an isolated case.

Just a month ago, another KSK soldier was suspended after his close ties to the Identitarian Movement were revealed. The Tagesschau reported last Wednesday that the soldier played a part in the mistreatment of Murat Kurnaz in Afghanistan.

Kurnaz, who was born in Bremen, was held in the US Guantanamo Bay prison camp for four years as a “Taliban fighter.” After his release, he accused two KSK soldiers of having abused him in Afghanistan in 2002. The Defence Ministry confirmed that the incident involved the soldier who was suspended a month ago and a fellow soldier, who were posted to the US air base in Kandahar on “guard duty.”

Kurnaz testified in 2006: “Then one of the two Germans said to me, ‘You picked the wrong side. Eyes on the ground … Do you know who we are? We are the German force, KSK.’… Then he slammed my head on the ground and one of them kicked me.”

According to research by Southwest Broadcasting (SWR) and Tagesschau, the soldier remained stationed in Calw with the KSK before “making a career in the United States.” After a leadership training course at Fort Bliss, Texas, he took a post at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and later became an official liaison between the German and US militaries.

Spokesmen from the Army and the Bundeswehr refused to discuss the content of the allegations with SWR.

The links of the two KSK soldiers to the Identitarian Movement are also significant because one of the movement’s most prominent supporters, Brenton Tarrant, carried out a fascist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019, killing 51 people and injuring another 50. One year earlier, he donated €1,500 to the Identitarian youth movement, prompting its leader, Martin Sellner, to initiate enthusiastic direct email contact with Tarrant.

Under far-right Austrian Foreign Minister Herbert Kickl (Austrian Freedom Party), Sellner was able to delete the messages from his hard drive shortly before the Austrian police carried out a search warrant on his home. According to the Military Intelligence Service (MAD), the KSK soldier suspended in May also donated money to the Identitarians.

The KSK pursues the interests of German imperialism around the world in secretive operations and specialises more than any other Army unit in killing people.

Against the backdrop of the return of German militarism and the revival of the class struggle, such capabilities are increasingly required at home. Der Spiegel wrote that according to the letter, K. demanded that his recruits write “essays … that sketch out a potential KSK domestic intervention.”

Such plans are already well advanced. The letter to the defence minister makes clear that the far-right network in and around the KSK, which has repeatedly been in the headlines in recent years, is no mere “isolated case”, but is systematically promoted from above and covered up.

Just a few weeks ago, investigators took a KSK soldier into custody after he was found to be hoarding military weaponry, and a large underground store of explosives and munitions from the German Army’s supplies was found on his private land.

As the World Socialist Web Site reported, a right-wing extremist “shadow army” composed of KSK soldiers, police officers, judges, lawyers and intelligence service agents is preparing to round up and kill political opponents on “day X”, using death lists, military transports and munitions seized from the Army. Witnesses reported in 2017 that in this context, discussions about a “final solution” had taken place.

A central figure in this terrorist network is Andre S., code-named “Hannibal”, a former KSK soldier and friend of Franco A., an army officer strongly suspected of planning political assassinations, using the fabricated identity of a refugee. Together with an intelligence agent, Andre S. founded the organisation “Uniter”, which provided the personnel and organisational basis for the network.

The available information leaves no doubt about the fact that these right-wing extremist command structures have enjoyed the backing of figures at the highest levels. The MAD (Military Intelligence Service), in collaboration with the domestic intelligence service, placed the leading figures under surveillance and even used “Hannibal” as an informant during his time as a soldier.

In its official annual report, the agency wrote that it was supporting “members of the Army who are in a ‘social close relationship’ to suspected extremists, to protect them from … unjustified suspicion.” In this context, the MAD described the KSK as the “focus of the work.”

The cover-up will continue even after the sergeant’s letter. Eva Högl (Social Democratic Party), the new parliamentary commissioner for the Army, confirmed this in an interview with Deutschlandfunk. She said it was “very, very important to say that there is no blanket suspicion, neither towards the army or the KSK.” The army is “not a hotbed for right-wing extremists,” she continued, but rather a “piling up of isolated cases.”

Högl said she intended to carefully review “whether the right-wing extremist structures or networks exist.” But she would leave the investigation to a working group composed of the MAD and the KSK. This means the criminals—the KSK and the MAD, which covered up these developments—will be investigating themselves.

Asked whether “the dissolution of the elite unit could take place at the end of the review process in a worst-case scenario,” Högl answered: “This is not the time to talk about or even consider the dissolution of the KSK. Next year, we will celebrate—if it comes to that, and I hope it will—25 years since the founding of the KSK, and I am firmly convinced that we need this elite unit. It performs a tremendous service under extremely difficult conditions.”

The author also recommends:

Right-wing networks in the German state exposed
[18 October 2019]

Germany: Links found between right-wing network inside army and police officer murdered by far-right terrorists
[1 April 2019]

German neonazi on trial for Lübcke murder

This 2019 video says about itself:

Germany: Two more suspects arrested linked to politician’s murder

Two more suspects were arrested in a case linked to the murder of German politician Walter Luebcke on Thursday.

Elmar J. and Markus, aged 64 and 43 respectively, were detained on suspicion of being accessories to murder. …

Luebcke was found dead on the terrace of his family home in Wolfhagen near Kassel on June 2.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Murder of politician Lübcke shocked Germany, suspect in court today …

Today, the trial of prime suspect Stephan Ernst (46) begins among big interest in Frankfurt.

The main question is of course: did Ernst do it? At least there is a pile of evidence against him. His DNA was found at the crime scene and on the murder weapon, and he made an extensive confession shortly after he was arrested. Among other things, he said that he hated Lübcke for his commitment to refugees, thought about harming him day and night, and that he had already stood several times in front of Lübcke’s house.

Since childhood in neo-Nazi circles

Ernst has been in neo-Nazi circles since childhood. In 1993 he carried out a fire attack at an asylum seekers’ center and assaulted a German-Turkish imam. For that, he was sentenced to six years youth prison as a 19-year-old. Later he joined the neo-Nazi party NPD. He often attends demonstrations of the extreme right and keeps coming into contact with the police. He also has connections with members of the now-banned militant neo-Nazi group Combat 18. During this court case, Ernst is on trial apart from the murder of Lübcke, for attempting to murder an Iraqi asylum seeker more than four years ago. …

But his confession is not the only proof against him. In Ernst’s house, lists of ‘possible targets’ were found on a hidden USB stick. It was a synagogue, local politicians and anti-fascists. He kept entire files with addresses, number plates, behavioral patterns. Also found: manuals for building bombs and conducting underground operations. “Anything that aims to destroy the enemy is good,” Ernst himself wrote.

Many in Germany wonder how it is possible that a well-known neo-Nazi like Ernst was not on the radar with the intelligence service. …

He had a family, bought a house and was CEO of his own company. The secret service thought he had “cooled down” and was no longer watching him.

Incorrect estimate

An absolutely incorrect estimate, says Katharina König-Preuss. She sits for the Die Linke left party in the Thuringian parliament and is an expert in the field of the extreme right in Germany (and also receives repeated threats herself). “If the judiciary does not hear from a neo-Nazi for five years, so does not see him at demos or other meetings, his file will be closed, because they think that this person has turned his back on the scene. That is an absolute mistake. It happens more often that neo-Nazis withdraw when they have a family, but that does not mean that they say goodbye to the ideas.”

Investigation after the murder has shown that Ernst did still support the extreme right. He is said to have supported the banned ‘Identitarian Movement‘ with multiple donations and had contact with Combat 18 people.

The British Conservative Daily Telegraph reports:

The main suspect [Stephan Ernst] in the assassination of a German politician last year previously worked as a campaign volunteer for the nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AfD), it has emerged.

The NOS article continues:

There are also photos of him at a demonstration in Chemnitz, where several right-wing extremist groups gathered

König-Preuss: “Eg, no extensive research has been done on the members of Combat 18. They should also take a closer look at right-wing extremist elements in their own governmental organisations, with the army and the police.”

The fact that the violence of the extreme right is increasing also has to do with the fact that there is now a party called AfD in parliament. “The road from words to actions is not long. If people with racist beliefs find out that they are no longer alone with their ideas, that even a party with 25 percent of the vote [in Thuringia] thinks the same about refugees, this may be a reason for some to go from verbal abuse into reality.”

“In the case of Walter Lübcke, it was repeatedly claimed that he had betrayed the German people, that he was cooperating in the ‘replacement’ of the German people. On that hate speech, someone like Stephan Ernst also bases his conviction that he in fact, by killing, represents the will of the people.”

German neo-nazi murder attempt on anti-fascist woman

This 14 September 2019 German video is about a big anti-fascist demonstration in Einbeck town.

Translated from Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad today:

Two neo-Nazis detained after attack on home of activist woman in Germany

The German police have arrested two men suspected of carrying out an attack on the home of a 41-year-old woman near Göttingen (Lower Saxony). These are right-wing extremists aged 23 and 26. The latter was seriously injured because the explosive that he wanted to throw into the house exploded prematurely, German media report.

According to the state minister of the interior, the woman is known for her fight against the right in the region. The two suspects belong to the extreme right-wing scene in the city, said Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD).

The duo blew up the letterbox in the front door of the activist’s home in Einbeck yesterday morning. Although the explosive went off prematurely, fragments of the letterbox on the inside flew many meters into the living area due to the force. There were no injuries.

A witness saw two suspects run away after the bang and called the police. Shortly later, they were able to find the men in an apartment where the blood trail of one of them led to. The 26-year-old is known to the public prosecution service. He was charged with sedition late last year. Weapons were seized in the apartment of the two.

The 26-year-old visited the concentration camp monument in nearby Moringen with two other right-wing extremists in November. They downplayed the imprisonment of men, women and young people in the SS-led camp against employees. The trio also posed in right-wing extremist T-shirts in front of the gates of the former concentration camp.

Series of attacks on anti-fascists

The extent of the damage proves the strength of the explosive, according to the 41-year-old woman’s lawyer. “You shouldn’t think about what could have happened if someone had been near the door”, he told public broadcaster NDR. According to him, his client was “already a target of threats from members of the neo-Nazi scene in Einbeck” in the past. The attack, he said, had a new, more dangerous dimension. In the south of the state of Lower Saxony, according to the lawyer, “a series of attacks by neo-Nazis against committed anti-fascists” has been going on for some time.

German nazi plot to murder Muslims

This 12 September 2018 German video is about an anti-racist demonstration in Hildesheim.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

German arrested for plotting attack on Muslims

German justice suspects a 21-year-old man from Hildesheim of threatening an attack that would kill people. In a chat message on the internet, he referred to the right-wing extremist perpetrator of the attack in Christchurch in New Zealand. …

According to the public prosecutor, he intended to kill Muslims. Weapons were found in his home. The police also found databases with radical right-wing content. …

According to the police, he was an “extreme risk”. …

During the attacks in two mosques in Christchurch, a terrorist opened fire on visitors last March. 51 people died.

Neo-nazi plot in Germany

This June 2019 video says about itself:

Germany: Counter-protest dwarfs neo-Nazi march in Chemnitz

Far-right activists were met with scores of counter-protesters as they marched through Chemnitz on Saturday, marking ‘The Day of the German Future’. Around 250 neo-Nazi protesters marched through the city centre, carrying flags of Imperial Germany and shouting xenophobic slogans such as ‘Germany for Germans, foreigners out.’ The protest was countered by around a 1,300-strong rally who attempted to disrupt the march, even scuffling with the police at one point.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The German police raided this morning in 25 homes belonging to members of the so-called Reichsbürger movement. They are suspected of, eg, forging passports and driving licenses.

The police raided in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Hessen. It is said to involve 31 supporters of the movement, which is regularly associated with right-wing extremism. …

Members of the Reichsbürger movement do not recognize the current state in Germany because it was imposed by the Allies after World War II. …

They claim that Adolf Hitler‘s Third Reich supposedly is still the legitimate government of Germany.

In 2016, a Reichsbürger shot and killed a member of a German arrest team, and in 2017 police raided members of the group who were preparing attacks on Jews, asylum seekers and the police.

Extreme right COVID-19 denialists update

This 15 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Elon Musk’s insanity has escaped twitter and found a bigger stage. John Iadarola and Madeline Peltz break it down on The Damage Report.

“Joe Rogan hosted Tesla CEO Elon Musk on the May 7 edition of his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience in which both host and guest repeatedly spread misinformation related to the global coronavirus crisis and minimized the deaths resulting from it. Musk has previously dabbled in coronavirus conspiracy theories on Twitter, called social distancing efforts states have enacted to curb the spread of the virus “fascist”,

An interesting variation, compared to other supporters of Donald Trump‘s and Elon Musk’s ‘Flu Klux Klan‘.

Who say that social distancing and other measures to protect public health from COVID-19 are supposedly ‘communist’. Like the Ku Klux Klan says that ‘race mixing’ is ‘communist’.

‘Dear’ Mr Musk, do you know what is really more like fascism? The view that workers’ health and lives are expendable and subordinate to making profits for rich people. Workers crowded together, playing Russian roulette with their lives, in unhealthy factories owned by you and other big businessmen. That was the way fascism worked in Mussolini’s Italy. That was the way in Hitler’s Germany. Where many workers, many of them forced labourers dragged from nazi-occupied countries, died for corporate sponsors of Hitler’s party.

The problem with some millionaires is that they want to become multimillionaires, to hell with everyone else.

The problem with some multimillionaires is that they want to become billionaires, to hell with everyone else.

The problem with some billionaires like Donald Trump and Elon Musk is that they want to become trillionaires, to hell with everyone else.

Billionaire and medical science denialist Elon Musk drives his workers back to his crowded Tesla car factory, risking illness and death for them. Elon Musk has the full support of the United States neo-nazi site the Daily Stormer (no, I won’t link to them). Like Musk, the Daily Stormer claims that the deathly COVID-19 pandemic is just ‘a little flu’. The Daily Stormer calls Musk a ‘hero’ for that. Another example of how fascists are the bully boys for Big Business.

The extreme right uses rallies for driving workers back to unsafe workplaces for racism: for scapegoating Asian-looking people, for blaming the pandemic on ´the Jews´ (or claiming it is a ‘Jewish hoax’) and/or for blaming the pandemic on ´the Muslims´.

Another example of that during the COVID-19 catastrophe is in Germany.

Yet another example is in Britain.

By Ceren Sagir in Britain, 15 May 2020:

Anti-racists sound the alarm against fascist mobilisation during coronavirus crisis

ANTI-RACISTS have sounded the alarm on far-right attempts to exploit the coronavirus crisis through anti-lockdown protests across the country today.

Under the name UK Freedom Movement (UKFM), publicity for the events, which have been linked to conspiracy-theorist “anti-vaxxers” and the far right, encourages people to “be a part of the largest mass gathering since the lockdown” in cities including Sheffield, Liverpool, Bristol, London and Leicester.

Multiple far-right groups currently claim the Freedom Movement tag, including Richard Inman’s UK Freedom Movement and Jayda Fransen’s British Freedom Movement — though the two [neonazi] ex-Britain First activists are strongly at odds.

COVID-19 denialism is often detrimental for the denialists. British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who underestimates and mismanages the pandemic, landed on intensive care. Doctors there thought he had a 50% chance of dying from COVID-19. The spokeswoman of Donald Trump’s Vice President Pence in the USA became infected. A Brazilian general, the spokesman of extreme right President Bolsonaro, became infected. Donald Trump-supporting far-right fundamentalist preachers who repeated Trump´s lie of coronavirus being just ´a little flu´ died from COVID-19.

And this 15 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Coronavirus Karen” Probably Regrets Not Wearing A Face Mask

Sounds like “Coronavirus Karen” may have coronavirus. Cenk Uygur and Michael Shure discuss on The Young Turks.

“One of President Donald Trump’s supporters who gained viral infamy for refusing to wear a mask at Trader Joe’s now fears she has the coronavirus.

Genevieve Peters last week was asked to leave the California grocery, and employees called police, after she pulled a borrowed mask down below her chin, and Thursday she revealed on her Facebook page that she was experiencing some symptoms of coronavirus infection.”

Read more here.

Bosnian Roman Catholic whitewashing of nazi criminals

This Associated Press video says about itself:

(18 May 2019) Thousands of Croatian far-right supporters gathered in a field in southern Austria on Saturday to commemorate the massacre of pro-Nazi Croats by communists at the end of World War II.

For Croatian nationalists, the controversial annual event near the village of Bleiburg symbolises their suffering under communism in the former Yugoslavia before they fought a war for independence in the 1990s.

However, Bleiburg’s mayor Stefan Visocnik has branded the event “a mask for the glorification of Nazism.”

Tens of thousands of Croatians, mostly pro-fascist soldiers and their families, fled to the region in May 1945 amid a Yugoslav army offensive, only to be turned back from Austria by the British military and into the hands of anti-fascists.

Tens of thousands [many hundreds of thousands, some estimate] of Jews, Serbs, Gypsies and anti-fascist Croats perished in [pro-Hitler Croatian party] Ustasha-run death camps during WWII and the Bleiburg massacre was seen by historians as revenge by the victorious communist partisan fighters.

Austria’s anti-fascist groups, waving the former Yugoslavia’s flags with the communist red star and signs “Death to Fascism”, held small protests during the event.

By David Ian Klein in Jewish daily the Forward in the USA, 13 May 2020:

Local Jewish community speaks out against Sarajevo Catholic Church’s nod to Nazi allies

Catholic leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina are planning to say what many observers see as a mass for the perpetrators of World War II atrocities against Jews, a decision that has outraged the Sarajevo Jewish community.

The Bishops Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Archdiocese of Vrhbosna, which oversees the Catholic faithful in the eastern region of Bosnia and Herzegovina, stoked the controversy last week when it announced its decision to host a mass on May 16 for the victims of the Bleiburg Repatriations.

“To learn that the Catholic Church, who are our friends these days, who are always present, especially the Cardinal, at Holocaust commemorations organized by the Jewish community, has made this decision is simply astonishing. It is not just against the Jews but all people who call this country their home,” said Jacob Finci, president of the Jewish Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After the allies declared victory in Europe on May 8, 1945, the political and military leadership of the Independent State of Croatia, a Nazi puppet ruled by the brutal Ustaše party, fled Zagreb to Austria, along with their families and other assorted loyalists. They were hoping to avoid capture by the Yugoslav partisans led by Josip Broz Tito and to surrender to the British.

The Ustaše, whose rule covered both modern-day Croatia as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina, were never shy about contributing to the genocidal agenda of their German allies. It was the Ustaše and the NDH military which oversaw the Holocaust in Sarajevo, resulting in the murder of more than 7,000 of the city’s 10,000 Jews. The Ustaše then launched their own genocidal campaign against ethnic Serbs in the independent state.

“In Croatia were the only concentration camps in all of German-occupied Europe which were not established, run or even supervised by the Germans,” explained Dr. Eliezer Papo, a professor of Sephardic Studies and Balkan Jewish history at Ben Gurion University who was born and raised in Sarajevo. This included Jasenovac, the so-called Auschwitz of the Balkans, where more than 100,000 Serbs, Roma and Jews were killed.

“The Catholic Church Identified strongly with the Ustaša movement during the second world war,” said Papo. “In fact, one of the most notorious killers of the Jasenovac [camp], the Auschwitz of the Balkans, was Fra Majstorovic, a Franscsican monk.” Majstorovic was also known in Jasenovic as Fra Sotona, Brother Satan, due to his brutality.

When the Ustaše leadership arrived in Austria though, the British forces there were not as welcoming as they expected. Having made agreements with the Yugoslav partisans, they returned the NDH prisoners to them at a border town called Bleiburg. Though exact numbers vary, most experts agree that thousands were summarily executed by the partisans, while others were sent to forced labor camps in the newly founded Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Events honoring those killed at Bleiburg have in the past been held in Croatia and at Bleiburg itself in Austria, where they have often been criticized for displays of Ustaše, Fascist and ultra-nationalist symbols. However, they were canceled this year, due to the coronavirus fears and travel restrictions.

Instead the charge was given to Cardinal Vinko Puljic, the soon-to-be retired archbishop of Vrhbosna, to conduct the mass. Immediately the city erupted in controversy.

“For [the Jewish Community] this is a small disaster,” said Finci. “The Ustaše government during their rule of Sarajevo between 1941 and 1945 killed 10,000 Sarajevans including almost 8,000 Jews. Now to celebrate a holy mass for them as victims is something utterly ridiculous.”

In a strongly-worded open letter Jakob Finci, and Boris Kozemjakin, president of the Jewish community of Sarajevo condemned the church’s decision urging them to call off the mass.

“This mass is for criminals against the citizens of Sarajevo,” the letter states. “It commemorates the executioners of our mothers, fathers, grandfathers, our compatriots and all other innocent victims of the fascist parastate NDH.”

“I see no reason why the bishops of the Bishops’ Conference in Bosnia and Herzegovina would discuss a possible cancellation of that holy mass. The church has always prayed for and will pray for the deceased and that should not bother anyone who has goodwill,” Ivo Tomasevic, secretary-general of the Bishops’ Conference, told the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.

Later that week, Finci and Tomasevic held a public debate on the Bosnian show Face to Face.

The two Jewish presidents did acknowledge that, among the Ustaše, innocents did die at Bleiburg. But they still felt that positive remembrance of fascism should be unwelcome in the city.

“We pay tribute to the innocent victims, but their husbands, fathers and other family members, who committed all manner of atrocities against innocent people in the infamous camps and massacres throughout our country, do not deserve to have their name mentioned in Sarajevo,” their letter stated.

The Israeli embassy in Tirana, Albania, which also serves Bosnia and Herzegovina, also condemned any attempt to equate the killings committed at Bleiburg with those of the Ustaše regime.

“A clear distinction has to be made between the victims who without any guilt on their part were forced to concentration camps like Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška and killed there, and those who are responsible for those crimes even if they did not have the opportunity to stand a fair trial for them,” the embassy said in a statement.

In addition to the Jewish community, leaders of Sarajevo’s other major faith communities as well as its political establishment have all spoken out against the Bleiburg mass.

“Bosnia and especially Sarajevo has always been an anti-fascist town. Both between 1941 and 1945 and again between 1992 and 1995 we have always been victims of fascism, of different types of Nazis, that is why the average person is strongly opposing this”, Finci said.

David Ian Klein is a journalist based in New York and doing a fellowship in Sarajevo, where he is now sheltering in place.

See also here.

Austria officially bans memorial for executed Nazi allies.

Violent Muslims ‘terrorists’, violent neonazis not?

This 29 March 2019 video says about itself:

The Christchurch terrorist attack and racism in New Zealand

Tragedy struck the city of Christchurch when a self-declared fascist and white supremacist shot at two of the city’s mosques, killing 50 worshippers and injuring many more. While the country quickly came together in solidarity, it also left New Zealand confronted with an issue deeply ingrained in its fabric – racism. Moana Makapelu Lee with this story.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Threat of the extreme right a ‘big blind spot’

Christchurch, El Paso, Halle and Hanau: four places where attacks were committed by right-wing extremists in 2019 and this year. In the five years before, right-wing extremist violence increased by more than 300 percent, according to the international police organization Interpol. In the Netherlands, a right-wing terrorist attack is “conceivable”, writes the National Coordinator for Terrorism and Security (NCTV). …

Experts are concerned. There is little international cooperation against threats from the extreme right-wing, they say, and within the Netherlands the increasing popularity of radical ideas is “a blind spot”.

Tinder for Nazis

“In the West, we see that right-wing extremist attacks are now more common than jihadist attacks“, said extremism researcher Julia Ebner. “The extreme right is also catching up with the number of deaths.”

For her new book Going Dark, Ebner infiltrated various right-wing extremist organizations. “A neo-Nazi group in the US wanted me to send a photo of my wrist and take a genetic test to prove my whiteness.”

She sees that extreme right-wing groups increasingly organize themselves online. They plan campaigns and attack dissenters on Facebook and Twitter. There’s even their own dating app: Patriot Peer. “It is also called the ‘Tinder for Nazis’ and had ten thousand members. …”

The extreme right is much better able to organize itself through social media, Interpol also sees. “On the one hand, attacks from that direction are mainly committed by lone wolves“, said Secretary-General Jürgen Stock in an interview with Nieuwsuur TV show.

An insult to real wolves. Also, fascist ´wolves´ often turn out to be not as lonely as it seems.

“On the other hand, right-wing extremist groups are increasingly being brought together by the internet. This is an important concern for us.”

Machine gun next to bed

In The Hague, 56-year-old Kees R. was brought to trial last week. He is said to have told colleagues that he wanted to go to a mosque with hand grenades. He said he enjoyed the attack in Christchurch. In addition to legal weapons, R. also had a machine gun next to his bed, the police discovered. His phone, with a Nazi ringtone, contained racist and anti-Semitic videos.

The case receives relatively little publicity, says researcher Nikki Sterkenburg. She said that would have been different if R. had been a Muslim terrorist. “Then all talk shows would have paid attention to it.”

According to Sterkenburg, right-wing extremism is “a blind spot” in the Netherlands. For her PhD research, she spoke to 36 right-wing extremist activists. “They all have in common that they have a kind of vague notion of what the Netherlands should look like, with less space for ethnic and religious minorities.” …

Countries disagree on definition

Although Interpol says the threat of right-wing extremism is “a top priority”, there is also a blind spot internationally, says Julia Ebner. “Policymakers and security services are paying much more attention to fighting jihadism. There is no international approach about the right wing. Most countries see it as a domestic affair.”

What does not help is that countries do not agree on an unambiguous definition, says Sterkenburg. “When we say that we find certain statements problematic, it is not inconceivable that those statements are simply in the election programs of certain Polish, Hungarian or Flemish political parties. That makes it difficult to define what we find problematic and what we should do with it. Everyone thinks jihadists are bad, but with the radical and extreme right that line is much more difficult to draw. Also for countries themselves.”