- The term “neo-Nazism” refers to any post–World War II social or political movement seeking to revive Nazism or some variant that echoes core aspects of Nazism. The West German government passed strict laws prohibiting Nazis from publicly expressing their beliefs as well as barring them from the political process. Displaying the swastika, for example, was an offense punishable by up to one year’s imprisonment. There was little overt neo-Nazi activity in Europe until the 1960s. However, some former Nazis retained their political beliefs and passed them down to the next generation. After German reunification in the 1990s, neo-Nazi groups gained more followers, mostly among disaffected teenagers in the former East Germany. Many were groups that arose amidst the economic collapse and high unemployment in the former communist state. Neo-Nazis have confronted people from Slavic countries (especially Poland) and people of other ethnic backgrounds who moved from the former West Germany into the former German Democratic Republic after Germany was reunited. German neo-Nazis have attacked migrant workers from Turkey and were involved in the murders of three Turkish girls in a 23 November 1992 arson attack in Molln, in which nine other people were injured. Other neo-Nazi acts of violence include a 1993 arson attack by far-right skinheads on the house of a Turkish family in Solingen, which resulted in the deaths of two women and three girls, as well as in severe injuries for seven other people. These and similar incidents preceded demonstrations in many German cities involving hundreds of thousands of people protesting against far-right violence. The protests precipitated massive neo-Nazi counterdemonstrations and violent clashes between neoNazis and their anti-Nazi opponents. Statistics show that in 1991, there were 849 hate crimes, and in 1992 there were 1,485.In four decades of the former East Germany, 17 people have been murdered by far-right groups. Beginning in the late 1990s and early 2000s, neo-Nazis started holding demonstrations on the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden in World War II, and in one such rally in 2009, 6,000 neo-Nazis were confronted by tens of thousands of antiNazis and several thousand police. German law forbids the production of pro-Nazi materials, so when such items are procured they are smuggled into the country mostly from the United States, Scandinavia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Italy. Neo-Nazi rock bands such as Landser have been outlawed in Germany, yet bootleg copies of their albums printed in the United States and other countries are still sold in the country. Neo-Nazis, however, are not found only in Germany. The influence of Neo-Nazi ideas and political parties also resonate in countries such as Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, France, Great Britain, Greece, Russia, and the United States.
Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. Jack R. Fischel. 2014.
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