by Manca Tisnikar Svečko
There are more than you would think
First, what is a Neo-Nazi?
Neo-Nazi means “new Nazi” or “revived Nazi”. The word refers to members of far-right extremist groups who have adopted similar ideologies as the Nazi Party, the party that ruled Germany under Adolf Hitler between 1933 and 1945. The word Nazi itself is a combination of German words meaning “National Socialism”. Even though their name contains the word “socialism”, they are not really pursuing socialism as we know and understand it – as a left-wing philosophy. Adolf Hitler only joined the “National Socialist German Workers’ Party” to later impose his racial theories on to it. That’s where the socialism in their name comes from and the neo-Nazis just followed the naming convention.
What do they believe in?
Nazis based their ideology on the racial superiority of white people over all other races. Nazis were obsessed with blood and purity. They wanted to build a racially pure Europe (the Aryan race). From that grew the Holocaust. They attempted to wipe out Jewish, Gypsy, POC (people of colour), Slavic and homosexual “blood” because they viewed them as inferior. Millions of people died from this attempt. Neo-Nazis have a similar set of beliefs. Besides Nazi slogans such as “blood and soil” they also chant Ku Klux Klan slogans. The KKK is a racist American organisation responsible for killings and lynching of African Americans.
There are a lot of neo-Nazi, far-right extremist, and white supremacist groups in Europe alone. A few of them are:
- Alternative für Deutschland (Germany),
- Third Path (Germany)
- Blood & Honour (founded in England, global),
- Combat 18, nicknamed “Terror Machine” (founded in London)
- The English Defence League (England),
- Feuerkrieg Division (global, primarily existed online),
- Generation Identity (founded in France),
- Golden Dawn (Greece),
- Jobbik (Hungary), etc.
You can find more neo-Nazi, far-right extremist and white supremacist groups as well as more detailed descriptions on the website Counter Extremist Project:
In this article I will be focusing primarily on the German far-right extremist group Third Path as they have reached some national headlines more recently this year for trying to turn themselves into self-proclaimed anti-migrant border patrol.
The neo-Nazi group Third Path was founded in the southwestern German city of Heidelberg in September 2013 as a small part of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). It was founded by Klaus Armstroff, former NPD official. He fell out with the party over its ideology. He is reported to have recruited members from a neo-Nazi group known as Freies Netz Süd (Free Network South). The group was active in Bavaria before being banned in 2014. He is also considered to have ties to neo-Nazi groups outside the political system.
The latest report states that the party has about 600 members across Germany, but the Third Path considers itself a small hardcore unit that has less interest in expanding membership than engaging in political activism.
Their name comes from the so-called “Third Way” in German politics or as they put it “The aim of the party Der Dritte Weg is the creation of a German socialism far away from exploitative capitalism as well as egalitarian communism.”
But their brand of socialism is racist in tone and ideologically close to Hitler’s original Nazi party. The Third Path also demands “the peaceful restoration of Greater Germany with its original frontiers.” Meaning they want German borders to return to their state before the war.
Latest reports state an increasing professionalization in the Third Path Party over the last few years. In 2019 they realigned their structures to suit German electoral rules so they could be eligible to run in both national and regional elections.
The Third Path has around 20 bases across Germany but it’s most active in seven of Germany’s 16 states.
They also stated they have divided their activities into three so called “struggles”: the “political struggle”, the “cultural struggle” and the “struggle for community”.
The party also took part in demonstrations against the German government’s coronavirus lockdown measures as well as downplaying the pandemic with various conspiracy theories that were largely antisemitic.
The Third Path as well as all the other neo-Nazi groups mentioned in this article are very dangerous because they could fuel a terror attack most likely by a so-called “lone wolf” attacker inspired by their views and hatred.
If you want to join the fight against the ongoing threat from extremism, consider donating to the Counter Extremist Project also previously mentioned in the article.
You can read more about their work and donate here: https://www.counterextremism.com/donate