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The Nazi past of Golden Dawn, which it now denies

24 September 2012 / 18:09:53  GRReporter
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A recent public opinion poll has shown that the xenophobic Golden Dawn party is the third most popular party in Greece. Experts say the increase in its popularity is due to the activity of its members, who manifest themselves as protectors of the elderly and advocates of the people in regions with a high crime rate. The party leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos and the deputies deny that Nazism is part of their ideology, but Greek media recall their cult of Hitler in the not so distant past.

Ethnos newspaper writes that the history of the organization and its practices contradict the efforts of its leadership to disregard its Nazi face hiding behind a "patriotic" and "Christian" image in order to attract a wider circle of followers.

The evidence for this is the pictures of the first Golden Dawn Congress in February 1990, when its current leader spoke to the few people nostalgic for Hitler in Greece. The Greek flag and the symbol of the Nazi German paramilitary organizations were hanging behind him. The swastika was taking a due place in the hall too.

The symbol in front of which Nikolaos Mihaloliakos spoke is called "Wolfsangel", i.e. "wolf-hook" – a runic symbol and an alleged weapon for hunting wolves in the Middle Ages. At the time of Nazi Germany, it was the symbol of the paramilitary organization "Werwolf", which the leader of the SS forces Heinrich Himmler created in 1944. The symbol was banned in Germany in 1982 and the organization VSBD / PdA, which used it, was declared illegal.

In addition to the symbols, other evidence proves Golden Dawn’s belonging to Nazism. During the 1980s, a local magazine published many articles signed by Nikolaos Mihaloliakos himself, in which he called Hitler "a great visionary of New Europe" and "a great leader". "We exist," he wrote in an ode to Nazi "pride", "The charm of the swastika and the grandeur of the red-and-black flag are alive." The text ended with the Nazi salute "Heil Hitler!" written in German. Today, however, the general secretary of Golden Dawn (as defined in the party hierarchy) denies the existence of the specific writings.

Since Golden Dawn entered the parliament, its leadership has been making every effort to turn it into a populist and a far-right party that is fighting for the purity of the white race, but in a Greek and Christian context. The motto of the generals' junta "homeland - religion - family" and the persistent efforts of the party to manifest itself as a nationalist party influenced by the values ​​of Orthodoxy have replaced the praise for Hitler and Beelzebub. The aim of the party leadership is to create a more "popular" image among the general electorate, among which Golden Dawn is gaining ground.

At the same time, teachers and experts are warning that the Greek educational system does not provide enough information about Nazism and fascism. According to a publication in To Vima, a number of cases of students from elementary school were registered in which they had stated very bravely that each member of their families was a Golden Dawn supporter. In one of the schools in the Athens suburb of Petroupoli, students from the sixth grade entered the classroom shouting with one voice "Golden Dawn." According to their teacher, they took the exclamation as a game. Then she decided to conduct an experiment. When they stopped shouting, she started yelling at them in a very strict manner and commanding them to do their activities. When the students obeyed almost speechlessly, she told them that this was an example of their lesson that day.

Teachers are concerned because the curriculum does not provide information about what National Socialism, Nationalism is and what exactly happened during World War II. "I wanted to explain my behaviour to the children and to apologize. But at the same time, I wanted them to see and then, to discuss what they saw and what happens when people arrive at this behaviour," the teacher from Petroupoli said.

Her colleague from another school said that often the curriculum does not allow the study of this period of history. "We strive to fill in the gap with theatre performances, sketches and projects. But this is not enough. All students' knowledge of Nazism comes from the films they see or the books they read." A teacher in a school located in downtown Athens emphasizes that in parallel, the incidents of violence at schools impress the students.

Christina Koulouri, professor of history at the Panteion University, warns that the vision demonstrated by political parties like Golden Dawn is much closer to the model, which the teenagers want to emulate. "The epicentre of history classes is Greek history and the knowledge acquired is completely detached from its historical framework. It is not surprising that young people are unable to connect Golden Dawn with Nazism. It is very easy to spread a dangerous ideology among students as a fashion, as something attractive. Many students do not even know the meaning of the word ‘anti-Semitism,’" she said.

Tags: PoliticsSocietyGolden DawnNazismNational SocialismSchoolsViolence
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