September 22, 2007

Neo-Nazis release school newspaper

Germany's main neo-Nazi party has launched a youth propaganda campaign by distributing newspapers in schools that portray Adolf Hitler as a Second World War peacemaker and the Allies as warmongers.

State prosecutors in the east German city of Dresden said yesterday that police had confiscated some 150 of the offending newspapers circulated by the country's neo-Nazi National Democratic party (NPD) at schools in the region.

They said the newspapers, entitled Perplex, carried a seemingly harmless front page picture of two hands about to join under the slogan "Young, Cheeky and German". However, inside pupils were encouraged to turn their schools into German-only institutions and to despise foreigners.

Christian Avenarius, a spokesman for the state prosecutors, said: "The newspapers are clearly designed to influence young people. Hitler is portrayed as somebody who tries to negotiate peace during the Second World War. By contrast the British, Americans and Russians are depicted as warmongers."

Dresden's state prosecutors said they would bring charges against the NPD for inciting racial hatred and for being in breach of youth protection laws. The party has been prosecuted for distributing racist CDs in schools in the past.

German intelligence officials said the newspapers were part of a far wider campaign by the party to distribute tens of thousands of similar documents at schools nationwide.

The newspapers mark the latest attempt by the NPD to broaden its support in eastern Germany where the party holds seats in regional parliaments in Saxony and in Chancellor Angela Merkel's home state of Mecklenburg-Pomerania.

Mrs Merkel is under pressure to ban the NPD after an incident last month in which eight Indian market traders were beaten up by a mob screaming racist abuse in Saxony.


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