Tag Archives: Second World War

Special Report: Rise of far right in Europe being overlooked

Western mainstream media had been fully geared up to cover the expected victory of the far right presidential candidate, Norbert Hofer, in the recent Austrian election. The win of the Green party candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen, robbed them of the opportunity to cover what they had been predicting as the first European post-Second World War far right head of state election victory.

Norbert Hofer
Norbert Hofer

Yet, the rise of far right European parties and candidates into the established international realpolitik, rather than their traditional fringe position, is something that has been and is being fundamentally overlooked.

In France, the far-right National Front won 6.8 million votes in regional elections in 2015 – its largest ever popular endorsement.

The far-right Jobbik party who polled third in Hungaryorganises patrols by an unarmed but uniformed “Hungarian Guard” in Roma (Gypsy) neighbourhoods.

In Denmark, the government relies on the support of the nationalist Danish People’s Party and has the toughest immigration rules in Europe.

While, the leader of the nationalist Finns Party is the foreign minister of Finland, after it joined a coalition government last year.

Andrzej Duda
Andrzej Duda

Less than a year after Poland elected Andrzej Duda, a previously little-known right-wing politician as president, Warsaw’s nationalist government moved to strip a leading Jewish Holocaust scholar of a national honour for asserting simply what the previous Polish presidential incumbent, Bronislaw Komorowski, acknowledged. Namely, that Poland was in part responsible for Nazi war crimes against its Jewish population during World War II.

Perhaps one of most shocking situations currently exists in Croatia. During World War II, Croatia was ruled by the Ustashi, an axis-aligned regime that was every bit as bad as the Nazis. The Ustashi killed over 600,000 people, 500,000 of which were Serbs. The Ustashi-ruled Independent State of Croatia had a population of around 6.3 million, meaning the Ustashi killed around one in 10 of its own people. Eighty percent of the nation’s Jews were murdered.

Ustashi
Ustashi – axis-aligned regime during World War II, every bit as bad as the Nazis.

Now the Ustashi are making a comeback. It has now penetrated cabinet ministers and the mainstream media. Ognjen Kraus, the leader of Croatia’s Jewish communities, said that the government “is simply not doing anything” and that it “does not want to.”

The nation’s new right-wing coalition that came to power at the start of the year is responsible for much of this change. As part of that coalition, Zlatko Hasanbegović became Croatia’s culture minister in January. He was once a member of a small far-right, pro-Ustashi party.

Ustashi supporters in modern Croatia
Ustashi supporters in modern Croatia

Since taking office, Hasanbegović has cut funds for progressive groups and independent media and has endorsed a revisionist documentary film that denies the scale of the crimes committed by Croatia during its alliance with Nazi Germany in the 1940s.

Reporters Without Borders, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Serb and Jewish groups in the region have all condemned the new government.

The government’s tolerance of such a man as a minister in government is creating a climate of fear throughout the country.

Croatian soccer fans frequently chant Nazi-era slogans during games with only indirect criticism from the government. During one game with Israel, fans were heard to shout, “We Croats! Ustashi! Ustashi!”

Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s office in Israel and Eastern Europe, warned that Croatia is “a country where manifestations of fascism and anti-Semitism are very common, especially in the local soccer stadiums, but not easily identifiable by those ignorant of the country’s World War II and Holocaust history.”

In the UK much of the media coverage of anti-Semitic issues has focused attention to the political left following the storm that has engulfed the Labour Party. Equally, many in the western media, following mass immigration stories and terrorist outrages, have, unsurprisingly, concentrated on radical Islamist matters and any associated anti-Semitism. Yet, if world history, our history, tells us one thing, we cannot afford to ignore or overlook the rise of the far right. If the mainstream media will not do it we shall have to do it for ourselves.

Scottish market selling Nazi doll – why?

Jewish leaders have blasted a market trader for selling a child’s doll which is emblazoned with a swastika and appears to be doing a Nazi salute.

The shocking children’s toy was spotted at a stall in one of the indoor sections in the famous Barras market in Glasgow among other kids’ playthings.

It was close to another stall selling genuine Second World War memorabilia items, including flags, badges and weapons.

Paul Morron, president of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, said: “It’s an affront to decency.

“It’s just not acceptable. For a Nazi symbol to be on a child’s doll or plaything really [fails] a fundamental test.”

56ffdd2c2f1d8_naziMr Morron demanded the object be “removed forthwith” and said he had no idea “why anyone thought it was ever right that it should have been there to begin with.”

Cllr Greg Hepburn, SNP councillor for the Glasgow Calton ward, said: “The Barras is a place where everyone should feel welcome.

“I don’t think you’ll find very many people of any race, religion or nationality who would find that welcoming.

“I can only assume that whoever did it thought it was funny, as the alternative is much worse.

“I can definitely see why this toy is considered offensive. It’s completely inappropriate and I doubt that it would have been acceptable in the 60s or 70s, never mind 2016.”

Jay Anderson, who spotted the item while browsing the stall said he was “quite taken back” when he noticed it.

Jay, 26, from Yorkhill, Glasgow, said: “I think whoever made it feels like they’re being funny and edgy but it’s just simply offensive. Seeing that sort of thing in the Barras is unnecessary.

“Seeing any kind of Nazi symbols not only reminds people of what happened years ago, it is associated with evil views like racism, xenophobia and homophobia which isn’t something that should be condoned or taken lightly.

“That doll doesn’t need to be there, not in a society where we’re aiming to be more tolerant and accepting. Nazi symbolism needs to be left behind along with the views it represents.”

Stall owner Andrew Randall said he bought the doll in a box with other items and claimed did not intend to offend anyone.

He said: “I just put it in a box full of scary toys. I’ve never had anyone complaining to me about it and it’s out in broad daylight.

“That’s the way I got it. It’s in a box with other scary objects, it’s a box of terror.

“If you look at the other toys in there, there’s a dog with teeth and a squirrel with a baby head.

“If I thought it was majorly offensive I would take it off but to me it’s just a curiosity. I’m not out there to upset anyone.

“My stall is full of curiosities, I’m sure there are other things which would offend people on it as well.”

Follow this link to the original article here.

German’s second attempt at banning neo-Nazi anti-Semitic party

The case before the Federal Constitutional Court will argue that the far-right and anti-immigrant National Democratic Party (NPD) spells a threat to the country’s democratic order.

A previous attempt to ban the NPD failed in 2003 because the presence of undercover state informants within party ranks was seen as muddying the evidence.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government supports the case, although it has not formally joined the high-stakes legal gamble launched by the upper house of parliament that represents Germany’s 16 states.

imagesMerkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert has repeatedly labelled the NPD “an anti-democratic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-constitutional party”.

Critics charge the proceedings will give the NPD, a party with only about 5,200 members, a national stage and that a ban could turn its members into martyrs for their racist cause.

The party, founded in 1964 as a successor to the neo-fascist German Reich Party, scored just 1.3 percent in 2013 national elections and has never crossed the five percent hurdle for entry into the national parliament.

However, it is represented in the state assembly of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in the former communist East and in many town councils in the region.

It also has one seat in the European Parliament, held by former party chief Udo Voigt who once, in a newspaper interview, labelled Adolf Hitler “a great statesman”.

NPD chief Franz Frank last week sent letters to police and army troops, reminding them that in the former East Germany security forces resisted against the state and stood by the people — a letter seen by some as urging a coup d’etat.

Five state premiers are expected in the courtroom, along with interior ministers and the chiefs of federal and state security services and police forces.

The legal bar to outlaw any political party in Germany is high. Only two parties have been banned since World War II — an heir of the Nazi party, the SPR, in 1952 and the German Communist Party four years later.

To make their case, the states must convince judges that the NPD is unconstitutional, represents an active threat to the democratic order and holds an “aggressive and combative attitude”.

They will also seek to prove the NPD is creating a “climate of fear” in Germany and “shares essential characteristics” with the Nazis.

They will likely point to the fact that a former NPD senior member, Ralf Wohlleben, is on trial for supporting the far-right militant group National Socialist Underground which murdered 10 people, most of Turkish origin, between 2000 and 2006.

Follow this link to the original article here.

Le Pen at it again

Jean-Marie Le Pen has been at it again as the 86-year-old founder of the far-right National Front party defended having described Nazi gas chambers as a ‘detail of history’.

In words which will revive accusations that the far-right party remains an anti-Semitic one, Jean-Marie Le Pen said he had ‘never regretted’ making similar statements in the past.

His daughter and current leader of the party Marine Le Pen immediately distanced herself from the comments saying she ‘deeply disagrees’ with her ‘deliberately provocative’ father.

Mr Le Pen, who is still an MEP, said: ‘What I said corresponds to what I think. ‘The gas chambers were a detail of the war, unless we admit that the war was a detail of the gas chambers!’

While other National Front officials have been stripped of their party membership for racism, there has been no move to bar Jean-Marie Le Pen from a party of which he still holds the title of honorary president.

He is popular with many FN members and will stand as a candidate in December’s regional elections, despite having been convicted on numerous occasions of being anti-Jewish and for ‘inciting racial hatred’.

He has regularly made the comment about the Holocaust, telling the European Parliament in 2009: ‘I just said that the gas chambers were a detail of Second World War history, which is clear.’

Mr Le Pen was first convicted by a Munich court in 1999 for ‘minimising the Holocaust’ after telling a German far-right meeting that Nazi concentration camps and the gas chambers are ‘what one calls a detail’.

He has had a string of other convictions, including ones for violence and was briefly banned from being an MEP in 2003 following a physical attack on a French Socialist MEP.

Read more here.