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 [PART 51]

                   The making and unmaking of a Neo-Nazi

Fuhrer-Ex: Memoirs of a former Neo-Nazi
By Ingo Hasselbach with Tom Reiss
Random House, 388 pages, $24

Some would relegate neo-Nazis to a loathsome, but relatively small and
ineffectualfar-right fringe group. They might urge: worry about the real
terrorist groups such as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) [Irish ROMAN Army?
- Wol.] or the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas who continue to wreak deadly
havoc around the world.
Overlooked is the fact that German neo-Nazis have menaced and killed
refugeeson their soil, and the intriguing possibility of a neo-Nazi link in
the devastating 1995 Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing. Defendant
Timothy McVeigh's lawyer has traveled to London to investigate whether
British neo-Nazis contributed bomb components. [The Jewish Review. March
15, 1996]
Even if no such international conspiracy is uncovered in this case, it is
known that much German neo-Nazi support-in the form of hate and Holo- caust
denial propaganda and explosives manuals (some of U.S. military issue) --
is forthcoming from U.S. white power groups. The author cites NEBRASKA as
the WORLD HEADQUARTERS of the successor of the original German Socialist
German Workers (aka: NAZI) Party (Could there be any connection between
this fact and the reported encounters with "German speaking" aerial disk
pilots in NEBRASKA, which have been documented by at least two witnesses? -
Wol). Ironically, the German post-Reich ban on such materials in
conjunction with American First Amendment free speech provisions foster
this situation. A more subtle reason for concern over the ascendancy of
such extremist groups is the current highest postwar unemployment rate in
Germany. [The Oregonian. March 10, 1996]
The famous Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal is more cognizant than most of this
genuine ongoing threat, and has praised this courageous first-ever insider
account of the international neo-Nazi network. Known as the " Führerof the
East," Ingo Hasselbach came of age as a rebel against the East German
Communist state (represented by his Communist journalist father who he did
not know as his real father until adolescence). While being watched since
age 14 by the Stasi (GDR secret police) as a "potential disturber of the
socialist peace...," he courted every protest group regardless of politics:
hippies, punks, skinheads. Getting a prison education from a former Gestapo
officer about the alleged Jewish conspiracy against the Fatherland, he
"graduated" to form the German Democratic Republic's first neo-Nazi party
in 1988 and served for five years as the leader of the movement's
recruiting and violent activities.
While not excusing Hasselbach's behavior, his fractured family background
in a totalitarian state surely served as fertile ground for a career as a
sub- versive. Early memories humanize what might have been a mere diatribe
against his former peers: e.g., his grandmother telling him, ironically,of
being taken to a concentration camp for looking Jewish and then being
released (one of many ironies in the book); and being impressed by the
rebelliousness, rather than the ideology, of a school classmate who gave
the Nazi salute to an authoritarian teacher.
Hasselbach now lives in fear of his life from former Kamrades, for his
public dialog devoted to dissuading German youth from his fanatical path.
How then did his re-education and renunciation in 1993 evolve? His
conscience was finally penetrated by the fatal 1992 firebombing of a
Turkish family, though he claims that his group was not responsible for
that incident; the final severing resulted from the attempted bombing of
his mother's Berlin apartment in response to the earliest inkling of his
turncoat leanings. Coinci- dentally in the U.S. for the first time just two
days prior to the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing, he described in
non-excusing words his reaction to such horrific events: "Morally, I was a
bomb-thrower and just as responsible as anyone who planted a fuse or drove
a truck with explosives. ""The first step for me in rejoining the civilized
world was in realizing that." "And the first step in fighting them was to
tell the story of what made me one of them, of how I pulled others in, and
of how a sewer of the Third Reich waste water flows beneath the clean
streets of modern Germany."
Hasselbach provides chilling insight into the psychology of hatred and
alien- ation:"...I had walked as if sealed inside an ideological space
suit, treat- ing my enemies as if they were deadly viruses. The suit kept
the virus from infecting me and killing the hate. To take the suit off and
approach my enemy, without my ideology on, was to risk discovering him as a
Perhaps even more important than insights into the neo-Nazi psyche and
organization, this book confronts us with the dilemma of how to inoculate
against such inhumane ideas and actions in a democratic society.
Reviewed by Sala Horowitz, Ph.D.
Sala Horowitz, Ph.D., is a Portland, Oregon writer/researcher with
extensive experience in health, education and the social sciences. 
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