Germany bans largest neo-Nazi group


Holocaust survivors welcomed Germany’s decision to ban one of its largest neo-Nazi organizations.

Announcing the ban of HNG, the “national organization for political prisoners and their relatives,” German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said Wednesday that the organization’s real purpose is to assist far-right extremists in opposing the democratic state.

“Holocaust survivors welcome the ban … as a sign of modern Germany’s political maturity and its clear determination to confront extremists in any guise,” Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said in a statement responding to the news.

A series of raids on HNG cells followed the ban, and materials were seized as evidence at locations in the states of Bavaria, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westfalia and Rhineland Pfalz. HNG, which reportedly was founded in 1979 and had 600 members, was subjected to a search-and-seizure operation last year, which revealed that the group was actively working to undermine the democratic state, according to the Interior Ministry.

Friedrich in his statement said that the federal government had to stop HNG from bolstering the aggressive, anti-democratic position of jailed right-wing extremists.

“By rejecting the democratic rule of law and glorifying Nazism, HNG was trying to bind far-right criminals to ‘the scene,’ ” he said. “HNG has contributed to the apparent radicalization of the neo-Nazi scene” through its solidarity with and financial support for criminals.

HNG has been assisting mainly younger neo-Nazis. Another organization—Stille Hilfe, or Silent Aid—has been helping accused or convicted Nazi war criminals since 1951. Some observers say Stille Hilfe has helped accused criminals evade justice.

Efraim Zuroff, Israel director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, recently told JTA that Stille Hilfe is “symbolically important, but what their impact is is hard to say.”

Steinberg said the impact of HNG was not in doubt. Its “hate-filled worldview extends beyond antipathy to Jews to all minorities,” he said. “History has shown us where such malignant attitudes can lead.”

Reno Skinheads Sentenced to Jail


Joshua Kudlacek, at 19 the youngest of the defendants, received a five-year sentence.

Five skinheads who attempted to firebomb a synagogue in Reno, Nev., one year ago have been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

On Nov. 30, 1999, the five, ages 19 to 26, accompanied by two teenaged girls, tried unsuccessfully to burn down Temple Emanu-El, home to an 80-year old Conservative congregation.

The sentence “sends a very strong message that this kind of hatred is not going to be tolerated, at least not in this community,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said following last week’s sentencing by Judge David Hagen.

According to the defendants’ testimony, one of the skinheads threw a Molotov cocktail and a liter bottle filled with concrete at the synagogue’s 8-foot window.

The concrete bottle damaged — but did not break — the window, and the gas-filled bottle only scorched the sidewalk, according to reports in the Reno Gazette-Journal newspaper and wire services.

Joshua Kudlacek, at 19 the youngest of the defendants, received a five-year sentence.

Terms of between 14 and 15 years were imposed on Scott Hudson, Daniel McIntosh, Carl DeAmicis and Christopher Hampton. They were also ordered to pay the synagogue $3,743.50 for damage to the window.The defendants avoided possible 40-year sentences through a plea bargain.

Prosecutor Bogden gave a slide presentation of the defendants’ clubhouse, which showed Nazi and Confederate flags, a “Whites Only” sign and a photo of Ku Klux Klan members in full regalia.

Three of the defendants sported Nazi tattoos in the video. The most prominent was a 4-inch-high swastika, outlined in red and black, just above the right ear of DeAmicis’ shaved head.

“You can look him right in the head, and you see that swastika carved in his head. It’s red. He wanted it red, but he had to do something to earn it — that was to throw the fire bomb,” said Bogden.

Later Bogden explained that the “skinhead mentality is to earn ‘reds’ you must draw blood.” When DeAmicis “filled the tattoo in red, it obligated him to draw blood or some other serious offense.”

The U.S. attorney also quoted McIntosh as saying he had targeted Jews because “they are evil, they control the media and they put racial mixing on TV, and that is wrong.”