Neo Nazis Today – A Growing Concern
While most people think of the Nazi party as something that finally died out in the years following WWII, the fact is that in many cases Nazism is still alive and well. Known today as neo-Nazism, this movement is focused on reviving Nazism and bringing it back to power. It holds the same basic beliefs as the former Nazi party including nationalism, homophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism. In most cases it is connected to other similar movements such as the 'skinhead' movement and the white nationalist movements in various countries.
While some European countries and a few Latin American countries have laws on the books that prohibit pro-Nazi views and even ban Nazi symbols, others have free-speech laws that allow for the neo-Nazi movement to continue its push for legitimacy and attention.
In the USA, several neo-Nazi groups exist. The National Socialist Movement is the largest and boasts about 400 members. Due to the strong free-speech laws in America, groups are allowed to protest peacefully. However, numerous cases involving American neo-Nazis attacking or harassing Jews, homosexuals, and other minorities are reported every year and vandalism of minority-owned property is common as well.
In Europe the numbers are much higher. Of particular concern is the rise of neo-Nazism in Germany, where about 5,600 neo-Nazis are estimated to live and operate. While the organizations are officially banned, as is outright Holocaust denial which is a major part of most neo-Nazi groups, their numbers continue to grow.
A major problem that has led to the neo-Nazi movement is Holocaust denial, and the number of people who believe that the Holocaust was a hoax has risen right along with the number of hate groups. As a result, some leaders have begun to press for better Holocaust education. A surprising number of students in Eastern Europe have begun to express doubts about the legitimacy of the Holocaust, and the number of deniers is growing.
Other areas of Europe are dealing with their own Nazi-like groups. Golden Dawn, in Greece, rejects the label of neo-Nazi although most agree that their views qualify them as such. This group has actually entered the Greek parliament with 22 representatives after winning 6.97% of the votes in the 2012 election.
With the rise of racism and neo-Nazis, it's more important than ever to remember the horrors of the past in order to prevent them from happening again in the future. Only education and awareness can help stop the rise of this global issue.