July 29, 2009

Nazi Strength Through Joy leisure programme to get museum in German far-Right proposals

The NPD - friends of the BNP and not even a little bit nazi
Germany's far-right NPD Party is on a collision course with the government over plans to build a museum celebrating the Third Reich's "Strength Through Joy" movement, which organised leisure activities for the masses.

Jürgen Rieger, the vice-president of the party that seeks to ban all immigration and sever all ties with the EU, has submitted plans to authorities in Wolfsburg - home to car giant Volkswagen - for the museum intended to "show the people what this organisation did and what it meant". But critics have accused Mr Rieger of using the museum as a way to spread pro-Nazi propaganda.

Strength Through Joy, at one time the largest tour operator in the world, was created to promote "a National Socialist people's community and the perfection and refinement of the German people" through its tightly structured recreational programmes. Battalions of Strength Through Joy workers built the massive holiday complex of Prora on the Baltic Sea intended to be used by 20,000 holidaying Nazi loyalists at one time. the organisation also controlled a fleet of cruise ships that allowed pre-war Germans to travel to far away destinations at rock bottom prices. And it also financed the production of the "people's car" by VW, which later became the classic Beetle of the post-war years.

By the time war broke out, it was virtually redundant, but had accomplished its task: binding the people to Hitler and controlling leisure the way every other activity was controlled under the regime.

Mr Rieger's plans to turn an old furniture warehouse into a museum have met with stiff opposition. Ralf Schmidt, a spokesman for the city, said: "We will use every legal means at our disposal to stop this from becoming a reality." Because Mr Rieger has made his application to have the museum as a "commercial enterprise", the initiative, which critics say "glorifies Naziism"will be more difficult to stop than if it were merely being opened as a political showcase for the NPD viewpoint.

Mr Rieger has already assembled a fleet of Nazi-era cars, propaganda posters, documents, flags and uniforms of the movement ready to go on display.

Local officials fear that the museum will become nothing more than a shrine to the far-right, who continue to indulge in violent racist attacks while attracting more vulnerable young people during the economic downturn. In June, Mr Rieger founded an association to promote the museum. A barbecue and music evening at the intended site turned bloody when NPD members with shaved heads attacked journalists who turned up to report on the event with clubs and beer bottles. Later the same night, a black man was beaten up at the main train station.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

UKIP must be watched at a recent meeting in Sefton it was impossible not to believe it was a Nazi fest.