The "Committee for the Preparation of Adolf Hitler's 100th Birthday Celebration" (Komitee zur Vorbereitung der Feierlichkeiten zum 100. Geburtstag Adolf Hitlers, CHB) was an extreme right-wing organization that was banned in 1995 as the successor organization to the Action Front of National Socialists/National Activists (ANS/NA). The aim of the committee was to prepare and organize celebrations to mark Adolf Hitler's 100th birthday in 1989, which were intended to act as a kind of beacon for "Europe-wide networking and the creation of a common movement from the fragmented neo-Nazi scene."1
The committee had its roots in the so-called Action Front of National Socialists/National Activists (ANS/NA), a fusion in 1983 of two existing neo-Nazi groups. The Action Front of National Socialists (ANS) was founded and led by Michael Kühnen (1955-1991), Germany's most prominent neo-Nazi in the 1970s and 1980s. Kühnen became active in the right-wing extremist scene right after his dismissal from the army in 1977. In and May 8, 1977, together with two other right-wing extremists, he founded a sub-organization of Gary Lauck’s US-based Nazi party revival organization NSDAP Aufbauorganisation (NSDAP/AO). Kühnen's “SA-Sturm Hamburg” tried to copy the Nazi Party’s paramilitary Sturmabteilung (“Storm Detachment”), and as its parent organization supported the anti-Semitic race laws of the Third Reich. On November 26, 1977, this sub-organization became the Action Front of National Socialists (ANS).
The ANS gained a reputation for provocative action, attracting much attention in 1978 when its members clashed with police after staging a “Justice for Hitler” rally. In 1977 and 1978, ANS members robbed a number of banks and stole weapons from military bases. Accused of planning to bomb NATO facilities and a memorial for the victims of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, as well as scheming to liberate Hitler’s former deputy Rudolf Hess from prison, six members were arrested and convicted to eleven years in prison.2 Kühnen himself was jailed in 1979 after being charged with setting up a terrorist organization.
Despite Kühnen’s imprisonment the ANS continued its operations, and shortly after his release in November 1982 merged with Thomas Brehl’s group of “National Activists” (Nationale Aktivisten) to form the Action Front of National Socialists/National Activists (ANS/NA). The new group, officially founded on January 15, 1983, was under the leadership of Michael Kühnen. The ANS/NA was only to last until November 24, 1983, when it was banned by the Federal Minister of the Interior, including its subsidiary groups “Action of Repatriating Foreigners” (Aktion Ausländerrückführung) and “Circle of Friends of German Politics” (Freundeskreis Deutsche Politik).3
The CHB was conceived as the successor organization to the ANS/NA. The committee was founded in 1984 in a pub at the Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Among the founding members were Thomas Brehl, Michael Kühnen, Léon Degrelle and Michael Caignet as well as other neo-Nazi functionaries from Europe. Degrelle, during the Nazi era leader of the Belgian SS-volunteer legion "Wallonia" and the highest decorated foreigner, was sentenced to death in absentia in Belgium after 1945, but found refuge in fascist Spain. He was to serve as CHB's honorary president.4
Beside Degrelle, Walter Matthaei ("Capitan Walter") provided the necessary contacts on the international level, especially with Spanish fascists. Matthaei, a former captain in the Reich Security Main Office, was after the war "Reich Youth Leader" of the Socialist Reich Party, banned in 1952, and co-founder of the Viking Youth. In 1987, after a 30-year stay in Spain, he returned to the Federal Republic and joined the neo-Nazi FAP party. Matthaei established the contact of the German neo-Nazis with the militant CEDADE (Circulo de amigos de Europa) based in Barcelona. According to estimates, CEDADE had around 3,000 members with military training.5
The CHB had a pan-European orientation and was intended to function as a hub of various right-wing parties and groups. Among the best-known ones were the Fasceaux Nationalistes Européens (France), the National Socialist Irish Workers Party ( Ireland), the National Socialist Party of the United Kingdom (United Kingdom), the Vlaamse Militanten Orde (Belgium) and the Nationale Front (Austria).1 In Germany, it was mainly the Freiheitliche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (FAP) and the Nationale Offensive (NO) that supported the CHB.
The CHB's program was based on that of the ANS/NA and the NSDAP-AO of the US-American right-wing extremist Gary Lauck. The CHB was sealed off from the outside world; guidelines and training manuals were only accessible to the inner circle. Public forums were journals of the associations organized in the committee, such as the NO's "German Observer" (Deutscher Beobachter).6 Europe-wide meetings took place, which led to an intensification of contacts within the European neo-Nazi scene.1
The CHB had a strict hierarchy and was divided into four regions with different sections heads: Section Head West: Jürgen Mosler (FAP), Section Head North: Thomas Wulff, called Steiner (FAP), Section Head Center: Peter Müller (ANS leader Frankfurt), Section South: Michael Swierczek (former chairman of the Young National Democrats).5 Siegfried Borchardt from Dortmund and Christian Malcoci of the "Resistance West" (Widerstand West), known as "SS-Siggi," as well as Bela Ewald Althans were functionaries of the CHB.
One of the coordination centers was in Frankfurt, where Kühnen after his release from prison had opened a new headquarters. There he worked together with his comrades-in-arms, including the notorious neo-Nazis Thomas Brehl and Christian Worch.4
Because of the great media attention, Hitler's birthday on April 20, 1989, was only celebrated by a small circle of around 50 neo-Nazis close to Breuberg Castle in the Odenwald region, which Kühnen could not attend because of an appendix operation.7
In 1995, the CHB was banned as the successor organization of the ANS/NA during the so-called "Stuttgart Movement Trial."1 In the proceedings before the Stuttgart Regional Court against the founders of the CHB, the well-known neo-Nazi activist and lawyer Jürgen Rieger demanded the interrogation of 500 witnesses, whereupon he was replaced as public defender.
- 1. a. b. c. d. "Komitee zur Vorbereitung der Feierlichkeiten zum 100. Geburtstag Adolf Hitlers," in Thomas Grumke and Bernd Wagner (Ed.), Handbuch Rechtsradikalismus (Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 2002), 401–402.
- 2. “Neonazis: Solche Elemente,” Der Spiegel, June 8, 1981, https://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-14337637.html.
- 3. “Verbot von Vereinen Aktionsfront Nationaler Sozialisten/Nationale Aktivisten (ANS/NA) einschließlich der Aktion Ausländerrückführung - Volksbewegung gegen Überfremdung und Umweltzerstörung (AAR) und des Freundeskreises Deutsche Politik (FK), Bek. d. Innenministers v. 22.6.1986, IVA3-222,” Ministerium des Innern des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, November 24, 1983, https://recht.nrw.de/lmi/owa/br_bes_text?anw_nr=1&gld_nr=2&ugl_nr=2180&bes_id=537&val=537&ver=7&sg=&aufgehoben=N&menu=1.
- 4. a. b. "Rechtsextremisten: Schön bunt," Der Spiegel, January 20, 1989, https://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13496283.html.
- 5. a. b. Bernd Siegler, "Geburtstag unterm Hakenkreuz," taz, April 15, 1989, https://taz.de/!1815467/.
- 6. Michael Bauerschmidt, Susanne Brandt, Ulli Jentsch and Kurt Ohrowski, "Profil: Komitee zur Vorbereitung der Feierlichkeiten zum 100. Geburtstag Adolf Hitlers (KAH)," Antifaschistisches Pressearchiv und Bildungszentrum Berlin, 1996, https://www.apabiz.de/archiv/material/Profile/KAH.htm.
- 7. Richard Stöss, Die extreme Rechte in der Bundesrepublik: Entwicklung — Ursachen — Gegenmaβnahmen (Springer-Verlag, 2013), 172, https://books.google.de/books?id=5pGcBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA272&dq="Komitee+zur+Vorbereitung+der+Feierlichkeiten+zum+100.+Geburtstag+Adolf+Hitlers"&hl=de&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi35aDl1ffnAhXIsaQKHbnhAPwQ6AEIMDAB#v=onepage&q="Komitee zur Vorbereitung der Feierlichkeiten zum 100. Geburtstag Adolf Hitlers"&f=false.