Germany bans neo-Nazi youth group

By Jessica Elgot, March 31, 2009
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A neo-Nazi group which taught children at youth camps to see Jews as a “threat” has been banned by the German government.

The Homeland-Faithful German Youth (HDJ) allegedly organised activities promoting anti-Semitic and Nazi ideology among children at holiday camps.

German authorities carried out raids on the homes and offices of its leaders in Berlin, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony and Saxony.

The HDJ claims it is nothing more than a "youth group for environment, community and homeland".

But the camp leaders taught children as young as eight that Jews and foreigners were a threat, and preached a “racial ideology”, including the “purity of blood” and “the continuation of the German race” through campfire songs and lectures, the interior ministry claimed.

The HDJ holiday camp in Mecklenburg, Western Pomerania, was raided in August 2008, and police uncovered swastikas, racist pictures and song sheets with extremist lyrics.

Officers found 39 children, aged eight to 14, many wearing uniforms and carrying Nazi paraphernalia.
The camp was closed and the children sent home.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said: "We will do everything in our power to protect our children and youth from these Pied Pipers."

Last updated: 5:56pm, April 2 2009