The National Democratic Party (NPD)

The National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD - Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands) is a German nationalist political party. Founded on November 28, 1964, the NPD is a successor to the German Reich Party (DRP - Deutsche Reichspartei). the party has led since 1996 by Udo Voigt. The NPD associates itself with the black-red-gold color pattern of the current flag of Germany, but identifies more strongly with the black-white-red color combination, used in various periods in history to symbolize for German nationalism.

An ARD-led poll states that the majority of the population in Germany considers the NPD to be undemocratic and damaging to the image of the country. The NPD is viewed by its opponents and the mainstream media as a de facto neo-Nazi organization. The party opposes the increasing number of non-whites, Jews, and Muslims living in Germany, and Voigt has held meetings with various controversial ideologues, such as the American racist David Duke.

The German federal intelligence agency Verfassungsschutz classifies the NPD as a "threat to the constitutional order" because of its platform and philosophy, and the party represents the fastest growing nationalist party in Germany in terms of votes and membership.

History of the NPD

At the time of the NPD's founding in 1964, its opponents attempted to have the NPD declared a direct successor to the Nazi Party, and thereby disbanded in accordance with West German law. The party has never won the minimum 5% of votes in German federal elections that allow a party to send delegates to the German Parliament, but it was represented in several state parliaments in the 1960s and has recently repeated this feat.

In the 2004 state election in Saxony, the NPD won 9.2% of the overall vote. The NPD currently sends 12 representatives to the Saxony state parliament, the Landtag. During the 2004 election, the NPD entered a non-competition agreement with the German People's Union (DVU) and has since maintained that only one of the two parties will compete in any given election. The third nationalist-oriented party, the Republicans (REP), has so far refused to join this agreement. However, Kerstin Lorenz, a local representative of the Republicans in Saxony, sabotaged her party's registration to help the NPD in the Saxony election.

In the 2005 federal elections, the NPD received 1.6 percent of the vote nationally. It garnered the highest percent of votes in the states of Saxony (4.9 percent), Thuringia (3.7 percent), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (3.5 percent) and Brandenburg (3.2 percent). In most other states, the party won around 1 percent of the total votes cast. In the 2006 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election, the NPD received 7.3% of the vote and thus achieved state representation there, as well.

The NPD had 5,300 registered party members in 2004. Over the course of 2006, the NPD processed roughly 1,000 new party applications to put the membership total at 7,000. The DVU has 8,500 members.

NPD Platform and Philosophies

NPD leader Udo Voigt states that the philosophy of the NPD differs from communism and liberalism in that it acknowledges people as unequal products of their societies and environments, largely governed by the "laws of Nature." Voigt states that the party is influenced by the views of modern sociologists such as Konrad Lorenz and Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt. The NPD calls itself a party of "grandparents and grandchildren" because the 1960s generation in Germany, known for the leftist student movement, seldom supports the NPD's policies. The NPD's economic program promotes social security for Germans and control against plutocracy, but the party does not oppose private property. Voigt has demanded the "dismantling" of the "liberal-capitalist system."

The primary feature of the NPD that its opponents classify as extremism is its social orientation and philosophy. This includes a desire to dissolve a bureaucracy or constitution if it interferes with the ability of the Volk to preserve their traditions and continued existence. Voigt called the current German political system illegitimate, and said: "It is our goal to handle (abzuwickeln) the Federal Republic of Germany, just as 15 years ago the people handled the German Democratic Republic."

The NPD argues that NATO fails to represent the interests and needs of European people. The party considers the European Union to be little more than a reorganization of Europe along financial lines. Although highly critical of the EU, as long as Germany remains a part of it, the NPD opposes Turkey's incorporation into the organization. Voigt envisions future collaboration and continued friendly relations with other nationalists and European national parties, such as the Ukrainian National Party.

The party's platform says that Germany is larger than the present-day Federal Republic, and calls for revision of the post-war border acknowledgements. A map of Germany on the party's website omits the border shared with Austria and leaves out the Oder-Neisse Line, which established the limits of federal Germany to the east and was agreed upon with Poland in 1990. While this suggests a desire to renegotiate the status of historical eastern Germany, it may be a populist effort to capitalize on the bitter sentiments of Germans expelled from these regions (especially Silesia, Pomerania, Danzig, and East Prussia). The 2005 report of the Verfassungsschutz federal agency contains the following description:

"The party (NPD) continues to pursue a "people's front" of the nationals (consisting of) the NPD, DVU, and forces not attached to any party, which is supposed to develop into a base for an encompassing "German people's movement." The aggressive agitation of the NPD unabashedly aims towards the abolishment of the parliamentary democracy and the democratic constitutional state, although the use of violence is currently still officially rejected for tactical reasons. Statements of the NPD document an essential affinity with National Socialism; its agitation is racist, antisemitic, revisionist, and intends to disparage the democratic and lawful order of the constitution."

The 2003 Government Banning Attempt

In 2003, the federal government, the Bundestag, and the Bundesrat jointly attempted to ban the NPD in a trial before the Federal Constitutional Court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, the highest court in Germany with the exclusive power to ban parties if they are found to be "anti-constitutional". However, the case was thrown out when it was discovered that a large percentage of the NPD's inner circle were in fact undercover agents or informants of the German secret services, like the federal Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz. They include a former deputy chairman of the party and author of an anti-Semitic tract that formed a central part of the government's case. A number of other intelligence services' agents remain undetected.

Since the government assemblies were unwilling to fully disclose their agents' identities and activities, the court found it impossible to decide which moves by the party were based on genuine party decisions and which were controlled by the secret services in an attempt to further the ban. "The party was, in part, responding to the government's dictates," the court said. "The presence of the state at the leadership level makes influence on its aims and activities unavoidable," it concluded.

Horst Mahler (NPD), a former member of the far left terrorist organization Red Army Faction, defended the NPD before the court. Former chancellor [wikipedia:Gerhard_Schröder Gerhard Schröder] has suggested that the government should try to place a ban on the party again, but others did not see why it would be any more successful than the previous failed attempt.

World War II and Holocaust Memory Controversies

On January 21, 2005, during a silence in the Saxon state assembly in Dresden to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, twelve members of the NPD walked out in protest. The NPD was upset that a moment of silence was being held for those who died in the Auschwitz camp and that none was being given for those who died during the bombing of Dresden in World War II, with the anniversary of both events falling relatively close to each other.

Holger Apfel, leader of the NPD in Saxony and deputy leader of the party nationwide, made a speech in the Saxon State Parliament in which he called the Allied forces of the United States of America and Britain "mass murderers" because of their role in the bombing. His colleague, Jürgen Gansel went on to describe the bombing itself as a "holocaust of bombs."

Voigt voiced his support and reiterated the statement, which some controversially claimed was a violation of the German law which forbids Holocaust denial. However, after judicial review, it was decided that Udo Voigt's description of the 1945 RAF bombing of Dresden as a holocaust was an exercise of free speech and "defamation of the dead" was not the purpose of his statement.

Alleged Intimidation Attempts

The NPD has come under criticism for allegedly exerting party influence by means of "intimidation," creating "national free zones" in areas where their support is the strongest. This tactic is seen by some as an attempt by the NPD to circumvent their marginal electoral status. The party utilized this strategy to prevent a self-declared anti-fascist concert by musician Konstantin Wecker in Halberstadt, Saxony-Anhalt; vowing to buy out the tickets and put NPD supporters in attendance at that March 2006 show.

NPD supporters had planned to march around the city of Leipzig on June 21, 2006, in support of the Iranian national football team at the 2006 World Cup match held in the city. Although they intended to show their support of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the NPD cancelled its sponsorship of the event upon further review, and no supportive demonstration took place; only a counter-demonstration in support of Israel actually took place in the city. During the World Cup, the party's web site complained that due to the prevalence of people of non-German descent on the German national football team, the team "was not really German".

Related Pages on this Wiki: German Intelligence Agencies

Berlin Political Personalities Today

1. Udo Voigt - Politician and leader of the National Democratic Party (NPD) since 1996.

2. Holger Apfel - Heads the NPD's group of 8 deputies in the regional assembly of Saxony. Although not a Berliner, he is nevertheless a personality in the capital city.

3. Name or Alias Here - A resident of which borough

Articles and News Stories

Röbel, Sven. Internal NPD Documents Reveal Chaos: Germany's Right Wing Extremists in Disarray. Spiegel Online.

A Berlin Commune Fights Developers
The Köpi in Berlin's Mitte district is a symbol of the city's far-left scene.

The Cold War as Ancient History
An American journalist interviews Berlin high school students.

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