Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party targets schools

Leaders of the Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party have announced plans to open nursery schools.

The decision comes after the organisation ran a pilot class at the party's offices in Artemida last month.

More than 20 children, aged six to 10, were taught "Greek ideals" and mythology in accordance with the ideological values of the third most popular party in Greece.

A spokesperson described the class as a "national awakening" on the party's official website. Educators across the globe have drawn comparisons to indoctrination methods used by the Nazis.

MPs Ilias Panagiotaros and Ilias Lagos confirmed plans to open nursery schools at a conference in Crete last Sunday. They claimed socialist politicians had taught children a distorted version of Greek ideals and "a warped version of the country's history".

The xenophobic Golden Dawn party, whose logo appears to be a version of the swastika, holds 18 seats in parliament. Members of the party have been associated with Holocaust denial, antisemitism and committing violent acts against ethnic minorities living in Greece.

According to various media reports, last month Mr Lagos said it was "unacceptable" to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. “We have received complaints that on this day, in Greek schools, texts are read which praise the Jews and at the same time portray them as heroes," he said.

“Given that at the same time Greek children are completely ignorant of important moments in Greek history and of the real holocausts and heroes of the Greeks, we find it unacceptable that they are taught about the Jewish Holocaust in detail.”

Teachers in Greece have reported a growth in Golden Dawn-inspired groups among secondary school children, which involve a rise in disruptive behaviour and bullying classmates from immigrant or ethnic backgrounds.

Last updated: 1:42pm, March 7 2013