The Führer (Chief) is the highest being. In this case, the "Führer", the lifelong leader of the ultimate party formation "Golden Dawn", seems to be Nikolaos Mihaloliakos. His order to party members is only one: "When I walk, you will as well. When I fight, you will fight with me." This is claimed by Christos Kousoumvris, one of the vice-presidents and treasurer for 12 years of this fascist organization, who several years ago left it and published a book, which revealed the true face of "Golden Dawn's’" "Führer" Mihaloliakos.
Here's what he says: "The Chief was the highest being for us. His word was law. This is what he required from us as well. Blind obedience. If anyone questioned his decisions, we, his guards, set out to bring that person to his senses in every way possible. Unfortunately, I was forced to raise my hand against my friends just because they challenged what the leader had said."
Twelve years in "Golden Dawn" for Kousoumvris was not a short time. Fifteen stitches are his "medals", which he received from beatings, in which he participated during his membership in the organization. Other signs of honour given by Mihaloliakos during special ceremonies are irrelevant, because the Chief has given them to all of his guards.
During all these years the development of "Golden Dawn" is marked by the withdrawal of many members, mini splits, almost always accompanied by accusations, threats, and often, brutal beating. Except Kousoumvris, who left with 15 stitches, received as a "medal" for his services, all other members left the party with scars on their faces.
Dissent and secession
The first larger withdrawal of “Golden Dawn” members was in November of 1990 when Ioannis Perdikaris, economist, ideologue and author of the manifesto of "Golden Dawn" retired, taking with him some 15 members of the party. The main reason is that Perdikaris wanted "Golden Dawn" to be rather a centre for the Study of Nazism while Mihaloliakos, even back then, had political aspirations.
The second secession took place in early 1998 when Ioanis Giannopoulos left with a group of party members, accusing Mihaloliakos that he had made "Golden Dawn": "just a jumble of far-right collection of voices."
The third secession was several years later when the then No. 2 in the party, Antonis Androutsopoulos, nicknamed “The blond one” began to emerge as the right hand of the "Chief", and created an organization within the organization called "Golden Eagles".
In the summer of 1998 "The blond one" was accused of assaulting leftist students. He gave himself in, in 2005, and although he was sentenced for two assassination attempts, he spent only five years in prison. At that time he spoke against Mihaloliakos and accused him of “giving up the fight”, while hinting that his arrest was the result of betrayal from the "inside."
National moral education
Those who served in the Greek army in the 60s and 70s remember the compulsory National moral education during which officers were reading to the soldiers anti-communist texts. The same thing has happened and continues to happen in "Golden Dawn". All who come into the office of the party must make the Nazi salute with their hand raised. As Kousoumvris said, the deputies of the Chief knew what to say: "They told us what we wanted to hear. Motherland, Ancient Greece, the superiority of the Greeks. We were all excited by this." New members were read books like "Mein Kampf" by Hitler, books by Jonas Dragoumis, Pericles Giannopoulos, Ioannis Metaxas, Joseph Goebbels.
Present in their offices were also swastikas, which later disappeared.
Inside the organization operates another organization - the "Golden Eagles". Its members were undertaking the task of educating the young. They visit schools in poorer areas and hand out "Golden Dawn" brochures, and in recent years they have begun visiting also private schools in the northern suburbs of Athens.
Red Berets – the guard of the Chief
The Chief of the party has faithful "Golden Dawn" members, a sort of personal guard, which differ from the others by their red berets. They accompany him all the time and everywhere.
Quoting Christos Kousoumvris: "Golden Dawn" has all kinds of members - "children of right-wing families, rich, poor, middle class. People who want to hide as individuals, and expose their problems to the world. There were also some aware ones, who believed in specific ideas, country, religion, family but the organization destroyed them along with what they believed."
Summer camps and connection with neo-Nazis
Mihaloliakos’ road from the '80s until today
Although Mihaloliakos avoids getting on an airplane, in 1996 he ended up in Moscow and spoke at a congress of the Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
For their part, often during "Golden Dawn" demonstrations and manifestations speeches were held by neo-Nazis from various countries, such as Udo Voigt - former Secretary of the neo-Nazi party of Germany NPD, representatives of the Italian Forza Nuova, and from the "Spanish Phalanx." Of course, lately Mihaloliakos has continually been refuting the accusations that he has a connection with the Italian neo-Nazis.
In the summer of 2005 "Golden Dawn" tried organizing a European neo-Nazis camp in Stilida, Fthiotida area, but residents in the area and other parties rose up in protest. After all the fuss the camp did not take place.