Staunton, April 24 – Many in Russia and the West have been horrified by the Kremlin’s playing with extreme right neo-Nazi parties in Europe over the last several years, but as Pavel Pryanikov points out, Moscow has a long tradition of doing so, albeit not always so ostentatiously as Vladimir Putin has done.
Perhaps the most notorious case of Soviet support for a neo-Nazi activist involved Otto-Ernst Remer, a Wehrmacht officer who played a key role in blocking the July 20, 1944 plot against Hitler but who later, supported by the Soviet secret police, pushed for the creation of a single German-Russian state to fight American imperialism and Zionism (ttolk.ru/?p=23592).
As Pryanikov points out, “Remer’s post-war fate is a good example of how the USSR created ‘a fifth column’ in the West, regardless of the political and ideological views of those it recruited” because “in order to recruit Remer, the USSR did not have to search for any compromising information.” He “sincerely supported” what Moscow wanted to promote.
During World War II, Remer fought in the Eastern Front and in the Battle of the Bulge. In January 1945, at the age of 32, he became the youngest German general. At the end of the war, he was arrested in the American zone but ultimately released and then began his post-war political career in which Soviet agents were deeply involved.
In 1949, he founded the Socialist Reich Party, a neo-Nazi organization supported by the Soviet Ministry of State Security that won seats in both the regional and national parliaments in the western zones of Germany and that supported the idea of “GeRussia,” a single German-Russian state to oppose the US and Zionism.
Following arrest and then release, Remer “on the recommendation of the Ministry of State Security of the USSR” moved to the Middle East where he worked first for Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Naser and then for the Syrian government where with Alois Brunner, the former head of Nazi concentration camps in France, he helped create the security services for that country.
In the early 1980s, he returned to the Federal Republic where he attempted to restart a Neo-Nazi party and spoke out repeatedly against the US, NATO and Zionism, again with the financial backing of the KGB. His Nazi views disposed him toward Russia: he said that “Russians were whites, while the US was very much contaminated by racial minorities.”
In 1994, the German authorities sentenced him to 22 months in prison for inciting hatred and racism, but before he could be put in jail, he fled to Spain where he died three years later, Madrid having refused to extradite him to Germany.
A year before his death, Pryanikov says, Remer in despair over what Boris Yeltsin had done in Russia, called for a confederation of Germany and Russia which would absorb the countries of Eastern Europe under joint rule. The new common state, he suggested, should have its capital in Minsk.
The Russian blogger appends to his article a fragment from Remer’s 1983 “Manifesto of the German Liberation Movement.” In it, the former Nazi general wrote that “Germany must leave NATO, the Americans must get out of Germany and out of Europe, and we must develop partnership with Russia – here are the goals which stand before true German patriots now.”
“For Reagan and the Zionists,” Remer said, “The Soviet Union is the incarnation of evil, but for us it is a great power neighboring us with its own security requirements and a doctrine that corresponds to them.”