Intelligence

Soviet Russia and the extreme rightwing

Russia presents itself as Christian-conservative, almost tsarist, and thus deceives many Western right-wingers. Much less well known are the earlier attempts during the Soviet era to collaborate with Western neo-Nazis. On the surface, it sounds absurd that fascists collaborated with communists after World War II, but it all depended on the appropriate sales pitch. American military intelligence had pursued the remaining influential Nazi networks, turning many people into informants and directing West Germany’s new political system. Soviet East Germany was brimming with troops and preparing for an invasion. Not a good time to be a neo-Nazi. If you had the right contacts, you could join one of NATO’s stay-behind networks, stockpile weapons and ammunition, and wait for a Soviet invasion to occur. Of course, there was no guarantee at all that this guerrilla campaign would be successful, and even then the Americans could step in, win the final victory, pat the neo-Nazis on the back, and then ignore them. For the neo-Nazis there were only two options: Wait and lose any chance of ever having a German empire again, or… make a deal with Moscow and at least have a chance.

The Brotherhood

This organization was founded in 1949 by Alfred Franke-Gricksch and Helmut Beck-Broichsitter. The CIA monitored and infiltrated them because they promised to limit U.S. influence, calling this German “neutrality.” For obvious reasons, neutrality was impossible and could only mean the loss of US protection for Germany. Franke-Gricksch wanted a deal with the USSR. Beck-Broichsitter was already working with the West German secret service. CIA agent James Critchfield believed the Brotherhood had been infiltrated by the Soviets. Franke-Gricksch had been a member of the SS and the SD secret service and was involved in the Holocaust. From 1945 to 1947 he was in the hands of the British, who allegedly recruited him for MI6. He began contacting British fascist leader Oswald Mosley and the American Francis Parker Yockey. The aim was to create an international fascist movement. Mosley married the daughter of the 1st Earl Curzon of Kedleston (1859-1925), member of the Privy Council, Viceroy of India 1899-1905 and Foreign Secretary 1919-1924. Mosley’s wife died of peritonitis in 1933, after which Mosley married his mistress Diana Guinness, née Mitford (1910–2003). They married secretly in Nazi Germany on October 6, 1936 in the Berlin home of the German Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda Joseph Goebbels. Adolf Hitler was their guest of honor. Franke-Gricksch received an invitation to Soviet East Berlin and made contact with the communist occupiers. But his new friends turned against him for unknown reasons, arrested him and his wife, deported him to Moscow and ordered his execution.

The SRP party

Otto Ernst Remer’s party was blatantly neo-Nazi and pro-USSR.

Wolf Schenke’s “Third Front”

He sought contacts with the Soviets, founded a newspaper and tried to bring together various organizations for the “neutrality” of Germany. The term “cross front” meant openness to working with communists for this purpose.

Rudolf Steidl

He received 2.4 million East German marks for several publications calling for a new agreement with the USSR.

Adolf Slavik, former SS Obersturmführer, with his National League

In June 1949, immediately after his conditional release from prison, the then 31-year-old Slavik contacted Ernst Fischer. Slavik informed the Communist Party of Austria’s National Council member that he had already taken the first steps towards the realization of a new organization whose aim was to influence the broad masses of former National Socialists and their relatives in a progressive sense. The main goal of the planned organization is “understanding and cooperation between Austria and Russia,” said Slavik, who hoped that this contact would above all provide support in order to be able to publish a newspaper and maintain an office infrastructure. Without financial help from the KPÖ, his plans would only be “fantasies” that would come to nothing. The National League developed into a tool with which the KPÖ tried to influence less burdened former Nazis until 1955. According to a Soviet report, the League relied on former “petty” Nazis who had committed no crimes. In terms of content, the National League campaigned for Austria’s neutrality, against the one-sided orientation towards the West and the Marshall Plan, as well as for an understanding with the East. Activities were financially supported by the KPÖ from the start. The press spoke of Communazis and National Bolsheviks. According to the CIA, Slavik traveled to Casablanca to acquire Soviet weapons for Algerian nationalists. He is said to have admitted in Istanbul that he was a KGB asset. A prisoner exchange later took place.

Publication “Nation Europe”

It was under the influence of Francis Parker Yockey, an American who traveled and socialized extensively. He had contacts with Oswald Mosley and was always interested in creating a pan-fascist movement. The cross-border activity made the work of the European secret services more difficult, but at the same time made it more difficult for the fascists to background-check each other. Yockey founded the ELF, the European Liberation Front. West German guerrilla fighters, together with the Soviet military, were supposed to get rid of the Western occupiers. The ELF wanted money from the Soviet embassy. The FBI said Yockey had Soviet contacts. He was arrested and committed suicide.

Ernst Zündel

The notorious Holocaust denier from Germany settled in Toronto. He had a contract with Voice of Russia to broadcast his show from a station in Kaliningrad, a small Russian-occupied territory near Germany. Its revisionist Holocaust content sparked a diplomatic scandal and the Russians decided to stop broadcasting it. From the Soviet perspective, it made sense to promote a distorted historical revisionism, to acquit Hitler of initiating the Second World War and to portray the Holocaust as a hoax by the world Jewish conspiracy. The American and British occupation of parts of West Germany became a Jewish occupation in the minds of the audience. Stalin’s far-reaching purges of the original Soviet leadership were enough to prove to the neo-Nazis that the “Elders of Zion” had lost control of the USSR. To many observers, Stalin behaved like a tsar, with his cult of personality and the revival of some nationalist propaganda. The Holocaust was a massive undertaking that required accurate data on everyone with Jewish backgrounds, punch card tabulating machines, and a bureaucratic program of arrest, internment, forced labor, and destruction. The leadership largely avoided written records for its main decisions and some other records were destroyed, but a mountain of data remained. Therefore, revisionism had to ignore the data, point to the lack of clear written orders from the leadership and question the logistics of the camps. Although revisionism was not popular enough to incite West Germans to revolt, it still created the impression of a persistent fascist threat that galvanized Western communists.

David Irving

His works had the same impact as Zündel’s. His writing style was far more compelling and he gradually increased his extremism. He was already a best-selling author when it became clear that reality didn’t interest him. It is not known how many Germans then and now came into contact with his writings. Conservatives who would never join a neo-Nazi organization owned copies of his books. He turned 25,000 victims of the Allied bombing raid on Dresden into 250,000. In 1977, Irving published “Hitler’s War,” the first part of his two-part biography of Adolf Hitler. He argued that the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was a preemptive war forced on Hitler to avert an impending Soviet attack. Irving also argued that Hitler had no knowledge of the Holocaust. The success of his books enabled Irving to purchase a house in London’s prestigious Mayfair district, own a Rolls-Royce car, and enjoy a generally affluent lifestyle. His business ventures later failed. When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, a narrative was constructed based on traditional conspiracy ideology and revisionist mythology: The Jewish-controlled US wanted to claim Ukraine and Russia had to defend it.

Putin in Dresden

Reports have long said that Putin did little more than learn German and drink beer in the city of Dresden, where he was posted as a foreign intelligence officer in 1985. It is now known, says Catherine Belton, that he was involved in the management of agents, the recruitment of agents, technology theft operations and even the formation of left-wing terrorist groups that carried out attacks on the other side of the Iron Curtain. At the same time, Putin was privy to KGB measures to preserve influence in the event of the collapse of the Soviet empire. Mainly this meant setting up bribe funds with “trusted guardians” and “friendly companies” and setting up complex smuggling operations and agent networks. What Putin and the KGB were up to in the 1980s was, Belton said, “a blueprint for everything that would come later.” Shortly after his departure from Dresden, the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution exposed parts of Putin’s conspiratorial network of agents, which were supposed to continue to supply Moscow with top information after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Not because the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is a brilliant secret service, but because there was a defector; a Mr. Z. from the hotel industry who was supposed to obtain blackmail material about important people. Putin’s agent, Georg S., originally recruited Z.

Rainer Sonntag

Putin’s people also led neo-Nazi Rainer Sonntag, who became a close confidante of neo-Nazi leader Michael Kühnen. With the help of the KGB, Sonntag built a thriving neo-Nazi scene in Dresden. According to Baldwin/Williams, Sonntag’s request in the GDR to move to the West was approved through the mediation of Vladimir Putin. Putin is said to have led him as a KGB officer in both the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany. After the end of the Wall, Sonntag returned to Dresden, where he represented the seriously ill Kühnen as leader of the German extreme rightwing. There he founded the National Resistance Dresden (NWD). Sonntag had charisma but also the reputation of a sleazy pimp. Right-wing extremists flocked to him and called him the “sheriff.” Sonntag’s neo-Nazi gang had begun the cleansing of the city by targeting foreign gamblers. They handcuffed the men and handed them over to local police. The young people then hunted down the city’s Vietnamese cigarette sellers. Then they set their sights on brothels. Not to mention that Sonntag himself had worked in a red-light district out west not long ago. He planned the attack on a Dresden brothel called the “Sex Shopping Center”. Sonntag and a few friends initially had tried to escape the East German Republic. First they wanted to go to the Czech Republic, then to the West. But border guards didn’t think their flimsy story was credible. The Stasi had obtained all possible information from Sunday’s colleagues and neighbors, from the Dresden police and from a secret informant. His sentence was 18 months of hard labor. The East German prison system was practically a university for Nazism because the prisoners influenced each other. After Sonntag was released from prison, there were renewed clashes with the authorities. They gave him an ultimatum: Work as an informant for the Dresden police or go back to prison. His freedom now depended on spying on his friends. In 1975, Sonntag was back in prison and again charged with “attempted escape from the republic.” While he was in prison, the Dresden police continued to use him as an informant. When Sonntag arrived in West Germany in 1986, his first stop was Giessen, a refugee camp north of Frankfurt. Sunday soon moved into the Frankfurt underworld. He got work as a porter at a brothel – a “slut minder”. As Sonntag established himself among the criminal elements in the West, he reported to Schneider and Putin. Kühnen received a prison sentence of three and a half years for inciting violence and racial hatred. While he was behind bars, the wave of brutality he unleashed culminated in one of Germany’s worst peacetime atrocities: On September 26, 1980, a pipe bomb hidden in a trash can at the Munich Oktoberfest exploded, killing 13 people and injuring more than 200. Three months later, a Jewish community leader and his partner were shot dead in their home. In 1981, security forces hunting for the neo-Nazi gangs responsible for these crimes came across the largest weapons cache ever found in post-war Germany: Buried in the Saxon forest were 88 boxes containing 50 Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons, 14 firearms and 258 hand grenades, more than 300 pounds of explosives and 13,500 rounds of ammunition. Sonntag quickly became Kühnen’s sergeant. In practice, this meant that he was the personal bodyguard and head of security for the most powerful neo-Nazi leader in West Germany. As Kühnen’s health deteriorated, Sonntag’s fame in the neo-Nazi movement increased even further. “Suddenly he was the boss,” said Z. “Kühnen had AIDS, and Sonntag was the next guy.” That made some within the neo-Nazi movement nervous. Sonntag “was not easy to trust,” said Ingo Hasselbach, adding that Sonntag’s work as a pimp was unacceptable to many of his comrades.

“We have repeatedly warned Kühnen. We said: There’s something wrong with this guy.”

In April 1991, Kühnen died of complications from AIDS and so Sonntag became one of the most powerful neo-Nazis in Germany. Putin was married to Lyudmilla from 1983 to 2014. Her time in Dresden was formative for her, and since then she has had a soft spot for everything German. At the end of the 1990s, Lyudmilla used the offices and allegedly the fax machine of the Dresdner Bank boss in Russia. Dresdner Bank in Russia was headed by Matthias Warnig, an old acquaintance of Putin’s. Warnig later worked for Nord-Stream, the operating company of the Baltic Sea pipeline, for which former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) also worked.

https://magazine.atavist.com/follow-the-leader-nazi-putin-sonntag-cold-war/

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