Der III. Weg (The III. Path; T3P) is a minor far-right and neo-Nazi political party in Germany. It was founded on September 28, 2013 with significant support by former NPD officials, and activists from the banned Freies Netzwerk Süd ("Free Network South", FNS).1 T3P is considered an attempt to continue the FNS under the protection of the party privilege.2
They have ties with Assad's government in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon,3 the National Corps, Right Sector and Svoboda in Ukraine4 and the Nordic Resistance Movement in the Nordic countries.5 T3P has also allied with the by now Europe-wide Reconquista movement, having its roots in Ukraine.6
Their founder and chairman is Klaus Armstroff. The party mostly operates in Thuringia, Bavaria and Brandenburg.7The majority of the members are deemed as highly violent by the German domestic intelligence (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz).8
The party was founded on September 28, 2013 in Heidelberg. The former NPD functionary Klaus Armstroff was elected first chairman of the party. The party is the reservoir of a relatively small but very active group of radical völisch nationalists who were previously active in the comradeship (Kameradschaft) Freies Netzwerk Süd (Free South Network). The majority of the approximately 500 party members are active in the federal states of Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony. In Bavaria, the six so-called "bases" 2014 reflected the centers of the former comradeship of the FNS.9
The party does not aim for a strong expansion; rather, their current members see themselves as a "conscious neo-nazi elite that is not looking for growth."8
On July 15, 2017 in the framework of the far right festival "Rock Against Over-alienation" (Rock gegen Überfremdung), T3P represented the Reconquista movement.6 A post on the Interregnum-Intermarium Facebook page reporting on the event reads:
"The Reconquista movement, which recently held its 1st Paneuropa conference in Kyiv, was also represented at the event. The visitors could get the leaflets (Eng., Ger.) informing about the Reconquista's activities and plans at the stand of Der Dritte Weg's (The Third Way) party, the movement's ally."6
In 2017, "30 activists of the movement attended the annual March of the Nation on October 14, which is the Day of Ukraine’s Defender and a traditional Cossack warrior holiday, as well as the German military cemetery nearby Kyiv. This year , 14 of them also marched under the recognizable green flags of Der III. Weg side by side with Ukrainian nationalist organizations."10
In 2018, members of Der III. Weg were present at the 2nd Paneuropa Conference in Kyiv. There, Julian Bender, "West Germany area leader of Der III. Weg," held a speech entitled "Germany - Revolution or Downfall."10
In early 2018, a delegation of T3P traveled to Rome, to attend the annual Acca Larentia march, commemorating the deaths of three members the Youth Front of the Italian Social Movement (MSI), an Italian far right party, that occurred in Rome on January 7, 1978.
The party is trying to use charitable activities for propaganda and for the recruitment of voters, such as donations in kind for homeless people11 ("German winter aid") or clothing donation campaigns, much alike Casa Pound in Italy, with which T3P is in close contact. In contrast to charitable organizations, which allocate their aid to whomever needs it, donations are given exclusively to Germans.12 T3P also distributes a booklet in which racist resentments against asylum seekers are fueled and "tips to prevent refugee shelters" in the "own home" offer legal advice.13 The party increasingly initiates so-called "national patrols" ("nationale Streifen"), which with their "martial appearance" give the impression of being a vigilante group. With its patrols, the party wants to prevent "criminal acts" of refugees and foreigners and give the German population the impression of security. In spring of 2016, the party started a nationwide postcard campaign, calling upon politicians and politically engaged people in Germany, to e.g. leave the country via the Balkan route to leave.141516
In addition to its 2017 revised and modernized website, the party runs a Facebook page, which - is called - according to the self-image as a pioneer in the neo-Nazi milieu - as a "guidepost". On the website appear daily news, some of them clearly written from and for a right-wing elite. In addition, T3P runs an online store to distribute its propaganda and an Internet radio station called "Revolution on Air" (Revolution auf Sendung), which broadcasts once a month.17 Amongst the material distributed is also the policy document National, Revolutionary, Socialist (National, Revolutionär, Sozialistisch) of the party. This political-theoretical text "should give the neo-Nazi scene an ideological orientation."18 Of the latter, however, "only a small part [...] will be able to capture this sophisticated and abstract text."18 The booklet is "a condensed outline of the foundations of a National Socialist worldview adapted to the present time" and to be understood as a "theoretical treatise for the entire right-wing extremist scene."19 It is "remarkable in its nature, since such fundamental considerations in this form were last presented in the 1980s and early 1990s."20
The party calls for a so-called "German socialism" as a supposed "third way" away from communism and capitalism. Their program is generally based on an extremely völkish view of mankind in close alignment with historical Nazism and the militant camaraderie scene.12 T3P understands itself ideologically as "national revolutionary" and tying in with the program of the so-called "left wing" of the NSDAP around the Brothers Strasser. In tune with his ideology Armstroff said during a march in Plauen in May 2014: "Capitalist entrepreneurs [...] put the Germans on the siding of long-term unemployment and crave for fresh blood of foreigners." At the Federal Party Congress 2014, he called for spreading leaflets in front of refugee shelters and to rally people against foreigners.9 The party expressly opposes Christian values, which are to be replaced by a "pagan Germanic" esotericism of the "Artgemeinschaft" (Species Community).21
In its foreign T3P sypathisees with the Greek neo-Nazi party Chrysi Avgi,22 Hungarian, Ukrainian and Russian right-wing extremists, the far-right Scandinavian Swedish resistance movement and the Syrian Assad regime.23 Furthermore, the T3P demans in historical revisionist way the "restoration of Germany in its borders under international law" (according to constitutional protection agency Bavaria this means the German Reich before the Second World War).24 The party is also anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist.2526
"In terms of ideology, the party calls itself "national revolutionary", and pledges for "German Socialism" in its "Ten-Point Program". This does not imply the historical ideology in opposition to National Socialism. Rather, it is a tribute to the "left wing" within historical National Socialism. The völkisch and biologistic picture of people and society, which underlies the program of the party founded in autumn 2013 by former NPD officials as well as by some neo-Nazis, is incompatible with the individual human rights in the framework of the Basic Law."1
- 1. a. b. c. Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, "Der 3. Weg," archived on June 15, 2016, https://web.archive.org/web/20160615101017/https://www.verfassungsschutz.de/de/arbeitsfelder/af-rechtsextremismus/zahlen-und-fakten-rechtsextremismus/zuf-re-2014-parteien/zuf-re-2014-der-dritte-weg.
- 2. a. b. Nadja Erb and Hanning Voigts, "Der dritte Weg führt nach rechts," Frankfurter Rundschau, Februar 6, 2015, https://web.archive.org/web/20170902042922/http://www.fr.de/politik/neonazis-der-dritte-weg-fuehrt-nach-rechts-a-494160.
- 3. Benjamin Weinthal, "German neo-Nazi party builds alliance with Assad and Hezbollah," May 16, 2017. https://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/German-neo-Nazi-party-builds-alliance-with-Assad-and-Hezbollah-490847.
- 4. Alya Shandra, "German neo-Nazis march with Ukrainian nationalists in UPA march," Euromaidan Press, October 15, 2018, http://euromaidanpress.com/2018/10/15/german-neo-nazis-march-with-ukrainian-nationalists-in-upa-march/.
- 5. "Geplante Rede von Julian Bender in Schweden," Der III. Weg, October 3, 2017. https://der-dritte-weg.info/2017/10/geplanter-redebeitrag-von-julian-bender-in-schweden/.
- 6. a. b. c. Post on the Interregnum-Intermarium Facebook page from July 18, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/interregnum.intermarium/posts/828018977372431.
- 7. Johannes Hartl, "'III. Weg' will expandieren," May 19. 2015. https://www.bnr.de/artikel/hintergrund/iii-weg-will-expandieren.
- 8. a. b. Brandenburgische Landeszentrale für politische Bildung, "Der Dritte Weg," August 2015, https://www.politische-bildung-brandenburg.de/node/11580.
- 9. a. b. Bayerisches Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz, "Verfassungsschutzbericht Bayern 2014," 2015, www.verfassungsschutz.bayern.de/mam/anlagen/vsb_2014_pressefassung.pdf.
- 10. a. b. “The Second Paneuropa Conference in Kyiv”, Facebook event created by the Plomin und Interregnum-Intermarium Facebook pages, October 15, 2018. https://www.facebook.com/events/308172699997826/permalink/310511609763935.
- 11. "Bayerischer Verfassungsschutzbericht für 2017," Bayerisches Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz, 2018, 116, http://www.verfassungsschutz.bayern.de/mam/anlagen/verfassungsschutzbericht2017_180326.pdf.
- 12. "Innenansichten der neuen Rechten," ZDF-info, archived on December 3, 2016, https://web.archive.org/web/20161203181231/https://www.zdf.de/dokumentation/zdfinfo-doku/innenansichten-der-neuen-rechten-102.html.
- 13. Johanna Voß, "Broschüre gegen Flüchtlingsheime: Rassistische PR-Tipps von 'Der III. Weg'." Netz gegen Nazis, Mai 26, 2015, https://web.archive.org/web/20180612185251/http://www.belltower.news/artikel/anleitung-gegen-fl%25C3%25BCchtlingsheime-%25E2%2580%259Eder-iii-weg%25E2%2580%259C-erkl%25C3%25A4rt-wie-es-geht-10372.
- 14. Christoph Titz: Neonazi-Partei verschickt Droh-Postkarten an Politiker," Spiegel Online, March 10, 2016, http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/der-iii-weg-neonazi-partei-schickt-droh-postkarten-an-politiker-a-1081687.html.
- 15. Christine Fratzke and René Garzke, "Neonazis fordern Politiker und Journalisten auf, Deutschland zu verlassen," Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten, April 5, 2016, https://www.pnn.de/brandenburg/postkarten-von-rechtsextremer-partei-der-iii-weg-neonazis-fordern-politiker-und-journalisten-auf-deutschland-zu-verlassen/21439704.html.
- 16. Birgit Heidingsfelder, "Neonazis fordern Fürther zur Ausreise auf," nordbayern.de, Mai 3, 2016, http://www.nordbayern.de/neonazis-fordern-further-zur-ausreise-auf-1.5170283.
- 17. "Verfassungsschutzbericht Bayern für 2017," Bayerisches Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz, 2018, 139, http://www.verfassungsschutz.bayern.de/mam/anlagen/verfassungsschutzbericht2017_180326.pdf.
- 18. a. b. "Verfassungsschutzbericht Sachsen-Anhalt 2017," Verfassungsschutz Sachsen-Anhalt, April 23, 2018, https://mi.sachsen-anhalt.de/fileadmin/Bibliothek/Politik_und_Verwaltung/MI/MI/3._Themen/Verfassungsschutz/VSB2017_Presse1.pdf.
- 19. "Verfassungsschutzbericht Sachsen 2018," Verfassungsschutz Sachsen, http://www.verfassungsschutz.sachsen.de/download/INTERNET_FINAL_VSB2017_Vorabfassung.pdf.
- 20. "Verfassungsschutzbericht 2017," Verfassungsschutz Sachsen, http://www.verfassungsschutz.sachsen.de/download/INTERNET_FINAL_VSB2017_Vorabfassung.pdf.
- 21. Christoph Hämmelmann, "Braune Anti-Christen," Die Rheinpfalz, Oktober 20, 2015, https://www.rheinpfalz.de/lokal/artikel/braune-anti-christen/.
- 22. Carl Berning, "DER DRITTE WEG (III. Weg)," Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, February 17, 2016, http://www.bpb.de/politik/wahlen/wer-steht-zur-wahl/rheinland-pfalz-2016/218975/iii-weg.
- 23. "Bayerischer Verfassungsschutzbericht für 2017," Bayerisches Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz, 2018, http://www.verfassungsschutz.bayern.de/mam/anlagen/verfassungsschutzbericht2017_180326.pdf.
- 24. "Bayerischer Verfassungsschutzbericht für 2016," Bayerisches Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz, 2017, 139, http://www.verfassungsschutz.bayern.de/mam/anlagen/verfassungsschutzbericht_bayern_2016_neu.pdf.
- 25. Ibid., 111.
- 26. "Bayerischer Verfassungsschutzbericht für 2017," Bayerisches Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz, 2018, 170ff, http://www.verfassungsschutz.bayern.de/mam/anlagen/verfassungsschutzbericht2017_180326.pdf.