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 2011.1 2
The around 600 member strong3 Die Rechte links directly into some of the most notorious elements of Germany's right-wing extremist scene, and has forged ties with various like-minded organizations across Europe.
The current party chairmen are Sascha Krolzig and Sven Skoda, the vice chairmen are Michael Brück and Kevin Koch. The assessors are Leon Dreixler, Markus Walter, Christian Worch, Christoph Drewer and Alexander von Malek.4
The party founder Christian Worch (*1956) is one of the leading cadre of the neo-Nazi milieu in Germany since the 1970s, 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 been closely collaborating with probably the most well-known German neo-Nazi at the time, Michael Kühnen (1955-1991), and was involved in a variety of right-wing extremist groups, such as the "Action Front of National Socialists" (Aktionsfront Nationaler Sozialisten, ANS), the "Free German Workers' Party" (Freiheitliche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, FAP), the "Intentional Community of the New Front" (Gesinnungsgemeinschaft der Neuen Front), the Committee for the Preparation of Adolf Hitler's 100th Birthday Celebration, and participated in Gary Lauck’s NSDAP-Aufbauorganisation / NSDAP/AO, a U.S.-based organization which saw itself in the footsteps of the NSDAP.
Throughout the 2000s, Worch was affiliated with the neo-Nazi NPD Party, and served as a liaison to the extra-parliamentary neo-Nazi scene. However, he was a strong opponent of the NPD's merger with another far-right party, the DVU, in 2011, which led him to found Die Rechte (DR) in 2012, just one year before the swooping success of the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD).
On the surface the DR claimed to be less radical than the NPD, in line with the former delimitation of the DVU towards the NPD. Also in other aspects DR was strongly adhering to the former DVU strategies, 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"). However, various political observers classify the party as openly neo-Nazi and even more radical than the NPD.6
In October 2017, Christian Worch was confirmed in his position as party leader at the small party's federal convention with 78.4% of the votes. Subsequently, however, there was a motion from the Thuringia state association demanding from the federal party congress to declare "that the Die Rechte party is fully committed to the German national community (Volksgemeinschaft; i.e. the Nazi concept of society)." Worch gave "a counter-speech and stated that he rejected the motion primarily for legal but also for political reasons."7 A clash ensued, as the majority of the members did not follow Worch, but rather the Thuringian state association. Worch then resigned from the presidency, and his acting successor became the Dortmund neo-Nazi cadre the repeatedly convicted felon Christoph Drewer.8 However, at a federal party congress in early January 2019, Worch took on the position of treasurer and assessor on the Federal Executive Committee.
On April 1, 2018, Michael Brück and Sascha Krolzig were elected as equal federal chairmen at a federal party congress.
DR's Bulgarian alliance partner, the Bulgarian National Union (BNS) sent a video message to support a demonstration on April 14, 2018 in Dortmund.9
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.10
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.11 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:11
"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."12
On August 10, 2019, a conference of several, mainly Third Positionist, European neo-Nazi parties and groups took place in Lisbon, Portugal. The event was organized by Mario Machado of the Portuguese neo-Nazi movement "New Social Order" (Nova Ordem Social), with Matthias Deyda representing DR.13
The event, attended by around 70 people, was accompanied by a large counter-demonstration with around 2000 protestors.14 Opponents published a manifesto and an online petition in the run-up of the demonstration, which could gather almost 10000 signatures in a week.14
The following speakers were scheduled:
- Mário Machado (Nova Ordem Social, Portugal)
- Francesca Rizzi (Autonomia Nazionalista, Italy)
- Yvan Benedetti (Parti Nationaliste Français, France)
- Blagovest Asenov (National Resistance, Bulgaria)
- Matthias Deyda (Die Rechte, Germany)
- Josele Sanchez (La Tribuna de España, Spain)
- Alba Lobera (La Tribuna de España, Spain)
Neo-Nazi conference in Lisbon on August 10, 2019, organised by the Portuguese Nova Ordem Social.
- 1Sandra Stalinski, "Parteien bei der Europawahl: Die Ziele der 'Sonstigen,'" tagesschau.de, May 20, 2019, https://www.tagesschau.de/europawahl/europawahl-kleine-parteien-101.html.
- 2Marc 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.
- 4Oliver Cruzcampo, "Sven Skoda: Vom Parteilosen zum Parteichef," Endstation Rechts, January 7, 2019, https://www.endstation-rechts.de/news/sven-skoda-vom-parteilosen-zum-parteichef.html.
- 5"Warum DIE RECHTE?," Die Rechte, June 8, 2012, https://web.archive.org/web/20120622053756/http://www.die-rechte.com/warum-die-rechts/.
- 6Christoph 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"Erklärung des Bundesvorstandes von DIE RECHTE zum Rücktritt des Parteivorsitzenden Christian Worch," Die Rechte, November 2, 2017, https://die-rechte.net/allgemein/erklaerung-des-bundesvorstandes-von-die-rechte-zum-ruecktritt-des-parteivorsitzenden-christian-worch/.
- 8Sebastian Weiermann, ""Die Rechte" verliert Vorsitzenden," Die Zeit, November 2, 2017, https://blog.zeit.de/stoerungsmelder/2017/11/02/die-rechte-verliert-vorsitzenden_24926.
- 9"Europa erwache: Aufruf der bulgarischen Kameraden!," Die Rechte Dortmund on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeYgGtqnu-4.
- 10"Neo-Nazis commemorating Waffen-SS in Budapest," Jüdisches Forum on YouTube, February 10, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyOUQquZVg0.
- 11 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/.
- 12"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/.
- 13Nova Ordem Social (Blog), https://nova-ordem-social.blogspot.com/2019/08/cartaz-final-conferencia-nacionalista.html.
- 14 a b Mu Xuequan, "Nationalist conference convenes in Lisbon amid protests: report," Xinhua News, August 11, 2019, www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-08/11/c_138299510.htm.