The German far-right party Die Rechte ("The Right," DR) was founded in 2012 by Christian Worch along with other former members of the party Deutsche Volksunion ("German People's Union," DVU) in protest of their party having merged with the National Democratic Party (NPD) in 2011.12
The around 600 member strong3 Die Rechte links directly into some of the most notorious elements of Germany's right-wing extremist scene. The party founder Christian Worch (*1956) is one of the leading cadre of the neo-Nazi milieu in Germany, and convicted multiple times on accounts such as assault, incitement, and dissemination of Nazi propaganda.
Worch, who until 2017 was the leader of Die Rechte, had in his twenties established the "Action Front of National Socialists" (Aktionsfront Nationaler Sozialisten, ANS) together with probably the most well-known German neo-Nazi at the time, Michael Kühnen. The ANS saw itself as a continuation of the NSDAP and SA and had adopted their ideology, which included support for the anti-Semitic race laws of the Third Reich, and sought contact to other neo-Nazi groups like SS veteran organizations and the "Viking Youth" (Wiking-Jugend).
After the ANS was banned in 1983, Worch joined the later equally outlawed "Free German Workers' Party" (Freiheitliche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, FAP) and participated in Gary Lauck’s NSDAP-Aufbauorganisation / NSDAP/AO, a US-based organisation pretending to be a legitimate successor to the NSDAP. Since 1984,
Worch has also been involved in the "Relief Organisation for National Political Prisoners and their Families" (Hilfsorganisation für nationale politische Gefangene und deren Angehörige) banned in 2011, an organization that assisted and supported right-wing extremist criminals during and after their imprisonment throughout Germany.4
On the surface the DR claimed to be less radical then the NPD, in line with the former delimitation of the DVU towards the NPD. Also in other aspects DR was orthodoxly adhering to the former DVU ways, since it had - basically verbatim - taken over the DVU's party program.5
In the competition of wooing former DVU members to join one of the various far-right minority parties, Die Rechte positioned itself somewhere between the neo-Nazi NPD and more moderate right-wing populist parties such as the Pro-Bewegung ("Pro Movement") or Die Republikaner ("The Republicans"). This was just a year before the swooping success of the Alternative for Germany when it emerged in 2013.
However, various political observers classify the party as openly neo-Nazi and even more radical than the NPD.6
On February 8, 2019, DR's foreign affairs representative Matthias Deyda spoke at the fascist "Day of Honor" in Budapest, Hungary, which drew a crowd of around 3000 people. The event was commemorating the Arrow Cross Party, which had collaborated with Nazi Germany. Deyda concluded his speech with a quotation from Adolf Hitler.7
On April 20, 2019, Die Rechte published a news item on their website that there had been a meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, where Deyda took part as DR's foreign affairs representative.8 In the meeting the following groups decided on a an alliance entitled "Fortress Europe" (Festung Europa):
1. Бытарски Национален Съюз (БНС) / Bulgarian National Union (BNS) - Bulgaria
2. Die Rechte - Germany
3. Les Nationalistes / The Nationalists - France
4. Légio Hupgária / Legion Hungary (NSF) - Hungary
5. Národní a sociální fronta (NSF) / National and Social Front (NSF) - Czech Republic
6. Szłurm I Assault - Poland
The press item reads as follows:8
"From April 20 to 21, 2019, a networking meeting was held in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, in which nationalists from various European countries took part, some of whom have had long-standing contacts. While international exchanges often remain loose, networking between different parties and organizations has developed in recent years, reaching a new level: the international alliance 'Fortress Europe,' which operates under the slogan 'Our Nations - Our Europe,' was launched. In the future, campaigns will be coordinated across countries and contact will be intensified in a Europe that is growing ever closer together. The founding members of the Alliance are the organizations 'Бытарски Национален Съюз (БНС) / Bulgarian National Union (BNS)' (Bulgaria), DIE RECHTE (Germany), 'Les Nationalistes' (France), 'Légio Hupgária / Legion Hungary' (Hungary), 'Národní a sociální fronta (NSF) / National and Social Front (NSF)' (Czech Republic) and 'Szłurm I Assault' (Poland). The founding declaration, which was announced in the framework of a press conference on Easter Sunday, was broadcast in Bulgaria by numerous television stations, and a representative of the Bulgarian National Federation was even invited to one of the largest talk shows in the country. Also several German-speaking media (for example 'Der Standard' and ORF as well as 'Deutschlandfunk') have already reported about the new alliance, which will also be active in the run-up to the European election campaign 2019.
As a German representative, the foreign affairs representative of DIE RECHTE, Matthias Deyda, who is also on the 'List of National Resistance' of his party for the European elections on May 26, 2019, participated in the networking meeting and reported on a genuine spirit of optimism. In addition to the six founding members, discussions will be held with other organizations and parties with the aim of placing the alliance on an even more stable footing in the future."
This Festung Europa alliance seems to be quite official since the groups are giving each other media support frequently. Below for example the Légio Hupgária ("Legion Hungary") with a banner sporting "Fortress Europe."9
The Bulgarian alliance partner, the Bulgarian National Union (BNS) sent a video message to support a demonstration on April 14, 2018 in Dortmund.10
- 1. Sandra Stalinski, "Parteien bei der Europawahl: Die Ziele der 'Sonstigen,'" tagesschau.de, May 20, 2019, https://www.tagesschau.de/europawahl/europawahl-kleine-parteien-101.html.
- 2. Marc Brandstetter, "DIE RECHTE – Wer sie ist, was sie will," Endstation Rechts, June 15, 2012, https://www.endstation-rechts.de/news/die-rechte-wer-sie-ist-was-sie-will.html.
- 3. "Verfassungsschutzbericht 2018," Bundesministerium des Innern, für Bau und Heimat, https://www.verfassungsschutz.de/embed/vsbericht-2018.pdf.
- 4. "Friedrich verbietet neonazistische Gefangenen-Hilfe," Süddeutsche Zeitung, September 21, 2011, https://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/rechtsextreme-hng-friedrich-verbietet-neonazistische-gefangenen-hilfe-1.1146880.
- 5. "Warum DIE RECHTE?," Die Rechte, June 8, 2012, https://web.archive.org/web/20120622053756/http://www.die-rechte.com/warum-die-rechts/.
- 6. Christoph Asche, "Die Rechte: Diese Neonazi-Partei ist gefährlicher als die NPD," November 25, 2014, https://www.huffingtonpost.de/2014/11/25/die-rechte-npd-neonazi-partei_n_6217690.html.
- 7. "Neo-Nazis commemorating Waffen-SS in Budapest," Jüdisches Forum on YouTube, February 10, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyOUQquZVg0.
- 8. a. b. "Internationales Bündnis „Festung Europa“ unter Beteiligung der Partei DIE RECHTE gegründet!," Die Rechte, April 23, 2019, https://die-rechte.net/lv-nordrhein-westfalen/kv-dortmund-dortmundecho/internationales-buendnis-festung-europa-unter-beteiligung-der-partei-die-rechte-gegruendet/.
- 9. "25. Mai in Dortmund: Europäische Aktivisten kommen zur Demo, Anreisetreffpunkte stehen fest!," Die Rechte, May 13, 2019, https://die-rechte.net/lv-nordrhein-westfalen/kv-dortmund-dortmundecho/25-mai-in-dortmund-europaeische-aktivisten-kommen-zur-demo-anreisetreffpunkte-stehen-fest/.
- 10. "Europa erwache: Aufruf der bulgarischen Kameraden!," Die Rechte Dortmund on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeYgGtqnu-4.