Michael Kühnen

Michael Kühnen

Michael Kühnen (21 June 1955, Bonn - 25 April 1991 Kassel) was a leader in the German neo-Nazi movement. He was one of the first post-World War II Germans to openly embrace Nazism and call for the formation of a Fourth Reich. He enacted a policy of setting up several differently-named groups in an effort to confuse German authorities, who were attempting to shut down neo-Nazi groups. Kühnen's homosexuality was made public in 1986, and he died of HIV-related complications in 1991.

Kühnen was raised as a staunch Roman Catholic, and initially came to politics in his early teens as a Maoist.[1] When he took a job at the shipyards of Hamburg, Kühnen moved to the far right, joining a local National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) youth group. He did not remain long in the NPD, soon denouncing party members as "a bourgeois crowd of swines", and leaving the party to join the neo-Nazi movement.[2]

Contents

1970s

Following his departure from the NPD, Kühnen had a brief spell in the German Army but he was dishonourably discharged in 1977 for attempting to spread Nazi propaganda in his barracks.[3] After this expulsion, he took his first steps in organising a new movement, setting up the Action Front of National Socialists. Initially, the organisation consisted only of Kühnen, but he soon made contact with like-minded individuals across West Germany, resulting in a nationwide network of cells. The group soon became notorious for its violent activities, which included bank robberies and arms raids, often working in tandem with other similar groups, such as the Wiking-Jugend.[4] Known as the leader of the group, Kühnen was arrested in 1979 and sentenced to three and a half years in prison for inciting violence and racial hatred. Released in 1982, he set about trying to reorganise the Action Front of National Socialists, merging them with Thomas Brehl's National Activists, but the attempts were hindered by the Ministry of the Interior, who outlawed the group in November 1983.

1980s

With the ANS/NA banned, Kühnen turned his attention to the fledgling Free German Workers' Party (FAP) and encouraged his supporters to infiltrate and take over the group. Kühnen's bid was successful, (largely due to the fairly insignificant nature of the FAP before Kühnen) but nonetheless, he found that support for his cause had waned during his prior incarceration. Some believe this was due to a move away from orthodox Nazism to Strasserism in the German underground, leaving Kühnen's position somewhat compromised. Kühnen then began to look to Ernst Röhm for inspiration, and he broke away from full support for Adolf Hitler; condemning Hitler's purges against the SA and calling for a return to pre-1934 Nazism.[5] Alongside the infiltration he also formed his own successor group, the Gesinnungsgemeinschaft der Neuen Front in 1984.

With rumours spreading that he was to be arrested, Kühnen fled to Paris in early 1984 and sought refuge with the neo-Nazi group Fédération d'action nationale et européenne (FANE), with whom he had previously established contacts. Whilst working with FANE, he visited Spain and met with Léon Degrelle, establishing relations with the former Waffen-SS man who had become a central player in the CEDADE.[6] Kühnen was arrested in Paris and extradited to Germany to face trial on a number of charges related to neo-Nazism. He was sentenced to a further four years in prison.

In 1986, while in jail, Kühnen came out as a homosexual. In response to critics with the neo-Nazi movement, he argued that his lack of a family meant he had more time to devote to militancy, and he pointed out that Ernst Röhm was also a homosexual. However, Kühnen lost much support in the strongly-homophobic neo-Nazi scene. The FAP split, with Kühnen's former ally Friedhelm Busse leading the larger anti-gay wing, which held effective control of the party by 1989.

Kühnen was released from prison in March 1988, and almost immediately, he set up a new group, Nationale Sammlung. When this group was banned the following year, he enacted a policy of setting up group after group, in an effort to confuse authorities.[7] Of these movements, German Alternative was the most well-known. During this period, it was revealed that Kühnen had contracted HIV.[citation needed]

1990s

Again implementing his direct action approach, Kühnen led a group of white power skinheads to Frankfurt an der Oder on April 8, 1991, to protest the opening of the Polish border. Despite police presence, Kühnen led the group in throwing stones and other projectiles at cars crossing the border.[8] The Polish border incident was Kühnen's last public action, and he succumbed to AIDS in Kassel later the same month. His earlier admission of homosexuality and his death from AIDS sparked a debate about homosexuality within the European neo-Nazi scene. Within Germany, his death had a twofold effect on neo-Nazism; it meant the loss of its most dynamic leader, and it meant that the divisions he had caused would be largely left behind.[9] He was effectively succeeded by Christian Worch, his closest ally, whom Kühnen had nominated to take over his leadership.

References

  • Kühnen v. Federal Republic of Germany, 12 May 1988, Application No. 12194/86 (European Commission of Human Rights)

Footnotes

  1. ^ Martin A. Lee, The Beast Reawakens, London: Warner Books, 1998, p. 196
  2. ^ Lee, op cit
  3. ^ Lee, op cit
  4. ^ Lee, op cit, pp. 197-198
  5. ^ Lee, op cit, pp. 200-1
  6. ^ Lee, op cit, pp. 201-203
  7. ^ Lee, op cit, p. 231
  8. ^ Lee, op cit, p. 251
  9. ^ Lee, op cit, p.252-254

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Michael Kühnen — (* 21. Juni 1955 in Bonn Beuel; † 25. April 1991 in Kassel) war ein Anführer der deutschen Neonazibewegung. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 1.1 Beginn seiner politischen Karriere 1.2 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Michael Kuhnen — Michael Kühnen Pour les articles homonymes, voir Kuhnen. Michael Kühnen (21 juin 1955 25 avril 1991 à Cassel) fut un leader politique allemand d extrême droite et néo nazi. Il est décédé des suites du SIDA. Ce document provient de « Michael… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Michael Kühnen — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Kuhnen. Michael Kühnen (21 juin 1955 25 avril 1991 à Cassel) fut un leader politique allemand d extrême droite et néo nazi. Il est décédé des suites du SIDA. Le texte de Michael Kühnen: National socialisme et… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kühnen — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Friedrich Kühnen (1858–1940), deutscher Geodät Harald Kühnen (1912−2002), deutscher Bankier Michael Kühnen (1955 1991), deutscher Neonazi Patrik Kühnen (*1966), deutscher Tennisspieler Peter Ludwig Kühnen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kühnen — Kuhnen Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Patronyme Michael Kühnen (1955 1991) est un leader politique allemand d extrême droite et néo nazi. Patrik Kühnen (1966) est un joueur de tennis… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kühnen — is the surname of: *Michael Kühnen (1955 1991), a German neo Nazi activist *Patrik Kühnen (1966 ), a German tennis player …   Wikipedia

  • Michael Swierczek — (born 1961 in Hanover) is a German Neo Nazi who lives in Munich. Swierczek began his political career as a member of the Young National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD).[1] He was one of the leaders of the Freien Nationalisten before taking over …   Wikipedia

  • Kühnen-Gruß — Einwohner von Eger im Oktober 1938 beim Einrücken deutschen Militärs. Der Hitlergruß, im nationalsozialistischen Sprachgebrauch auch als „Deutscher Gruß“ bezeichnet, war zur Zeit des Nationalsozialismus die verpflichtende Grußform. Er war… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kuhnen — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Patronyme Michael Kühnen (1955 1991) est un leader politique allemand d extrême droite et néo nazi. Patrik Kühnen (1966) est un joueur de tennis allemand …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Michael Stich — Nationalität: Deutschland …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”