Bela Ewald Althans

Bela Ewald Althans (born 23 March 1966 in Bremen) was formerly a German neo-Nazi activist, who had allegedly worked as an informant of the Bavarian domestic security service (Verfassungsschutz).

Once the leading organizer in Germany’s neo-Nazi underground after Michael Kühnen’s death in 1991, Althans left the movement following his imprisonment in the 1990s and today is no longer involved in political activism. He subsequently gave his private papers from his neo-Nazi days to the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.1

Some of his memories are published on his blog, which he partly wrote while in prison, together with a plethora of pictures from his time as a neo-Nazi cadre.2

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Biography

Otto Ernst Remer. Poster on Bela Ewald Althans' blog.
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1982 - German Cultural Center of European Spirit

Althans was born into a middle-class family where he was brought up to reject Nazism, but, dismissing their views, was from early on involved in neo-Nazi groups.3

Already in 1982, at the age of 16, postwar Nazi bigwigs took notice of him, and systematically prepared him for a leadership role. One of them was Adolf Hitler’s former bodyguard and former commander of the “Wachbataillon Großdeutschland” Otto Ernst Remer, venerated like a hero in the neo-Nazi scene.4

His education in rhetoric he received by Willi Krämer, once special adviser to Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. About his relationship to Krämer he wrote in his blog:5

“Willi Krämer had a major influence on the dynamics of my political thinking. Particularly reading and studying Alfred Rosenberg’s ‘Mythos des XX. Jahrhunderts’ and Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer’s ‘Bauhütte’ together, whose teaching of biological methaphysics Krämer regarded as the basis of all philosophical thinking in the ‘present transition period’ (Krämer), as well as studying and analyzing various key works, the at that time 88 year old had already back then a formative influence on my conception of life and the cosmos.”

Willi Krämer with his wife in 1988. Picture posted on Bela Ewald Althans' blog.

According to Althans, his talents were discovered when he got involved in an organization called “German Cultural Center of European Spirit” (Deutsches Kulturwerk Europäischen Geistes, DKeG). Its director, the Hanoverian die-hard Nazi Lotte Oppermann (then 88) and her circle of friends had taken a liking to Althans.6

Oppermann’s villa in Hannover-Döhren served as meeting place for the who-is-who of the German far right of that period.5 Her dedication to the cause went as far as sheltering Germany’s most eminent neo-Nazi at the time, Michael Kühnen, when he was evading an arrest warrant, and even giving him her car so that he could flee to France.78

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1983 - Action Front of National Socialists/National Activists (ANS/NA)

In 1983 Althans joined the militant neo-Nazi group Action Front of National Socialists/National Activists (Aktionsfront Nationaler Sozialisten/Nationale Aktivisten, ANS/NA) around the prominent neo-Nazis Michael Kühnen and Christian Worch. The formation only lasted 10 months before it got banned, but in that short period Althans led its Hanover branch.3 According to Althans, he was detained on the day the ANS/NA was outlawed (December 7, 1983), before he even had met Michael Kühnen in real life,5 but since he was only 17 at the time just spent a mere 10 days in youth prison.9

From ANS to ANS/NA

Gary Lauck (left) and Michael Kühnen around 1990/1991

By the time Althans joined the ANS/NA, Michael Kühnen (1955-1991) had already a firm grounding as figurehead of the German neo-Nazi scene.

Kühnen became active in the right-wing extremist scene right after his dismissal from the Bundeswehr 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 NSDAP revival organization NSDAP/AO. His “SA-Sturm Hamburg” tried to copy the Nazi Party’s original paramilitary, the 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).

Already a few months later it gained nationwide publicity with a campaign Kühnen had organized together with fellow neo-Nazi Christian Worch in May 1978: Several ANS members posed with donkey masks and cardboard signs denying the Holocaust in front of journalists’ cameras. One of them read: “I, donkey, still believe that in German concentration camps Jews were gassed.’”10

Press stunt by members of the ANS including Christian Worch. Copyright: Alwin-Meyer.

Kühnen quickly became the leading head of the militant German neo-Nazi scene. His followers at that time included Thomas Brehl (Wehrsportgruppe Fulda), Christian Worch (FAP, today Die Rechte), Gottfried Küssel (NSDAP/AO), Steffen Hupka and Arndt-Heinz Marx.

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.11

Kühnen himself was jailed in 1979 after being charged with setting up a terrorist organization. While in prison, Kühnen wrote “The Second Revolution” (Die zweite Revolution), a program for the ANS. The title referred to the SA leader Ernst Röhm’s plans in 1934, who along with other members of the more radical faction within the Nazi Party advocated a “second revolution” that was overtly anti-capitalist in its general disposition.12

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) under the leadership of Michael Kühnen. The new group, officially founded on January 15, 1983, was under the leadership of Michael Kühnen.

The approximately 300 members were divided into roughly 30 “comradeships” (Kameradschaften) overseen by four larger chapters: North, South, West, Center.

On November 24, 1983 the ANS/NA, including its subsidiary groups “Action of Repatriating Foreigners” (Aktion Ausländerrückführung) and “Circle of Friends of German Politics” (Freundeskreis Deutsche Politik), was banned by the Federal Minister of the Interior and dissolved two weeks later on December 7.13

Bela Ewald Althans (standing), Otto Ernst Remer (2nd from the right), Christian Worch (left), Michael Kühnen (2nd from the left) at the Villa Oppermann in March 1984.

After the ANS/NA was dissolved, Kühnen escaped to France with the help of the Hanoverian Nazi grande dame Lotte Oppermann. The local neo-Nazis of the “Faisceaux Nationalistes Europeens” (FNE) had rented him a conspiratorial apartment in Paris.8 While being on the run, Kühnen had crossed the border back to Germany at least once, since he can be seen on a photo together with Althans, Otto Ernst Remer and Christian Worch at the Villa Oppermann in March 1984. According to Althans this was the first time he met Kühnen, who had gotten in touch with him because he was eager to meet Otto Ernst Remer.

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1984 - Committee for the Preparation of Adolf Hitler's 100th Anniversary Celebrations

On October 5, 1984, Kühnen was arrested in France and extradited to Germany. Following Kühnen’s imprisonment, by which time Althans had been thrown out of his family home by his parents, Althans went to live with Otto Ernst Remer in Bad Kissingen.3

Remer made Althans the youth leader of the “German Freedom Movement” (Deutsche Freiheitsbewegung, DF), a group that Remer had founded, and taught him about organizing cell-based movements as well as introducing him to a number of leading figures of the international neo-Nazi scene.14

The DF was an umbrella organisation for multiple underground Neo-Nazi splinter-groups of varying descriptions, and Remer used it to influence a younger generation of post-war born Germans.15

Committee for the Preparation of Adolf Hitler's 100th Birthday

The structures of the ANS/NA were maintained with two new formations: the NEUE FRONT reading groups, to keep the German neo-Nazi network active, and the “Committee for the Preparation of Adolf Hitler’s 100th Birthday” (Komitee zur Vorbereitung der Feierlichkeiten zum 100. Geburtstag Adolf Hitlers, KAH), which had an international outlook from the start. Althans writes in his blog:

“Since the ANS/NA had just been banned and Michael Kühnen with the help of his long-serving adepts wanted to preserve the 10-month experiment of the ANS in some way from afar, on the one hand the well-known reading groups of the NEUE FRONT were founded, but on the other hand by means of the KAH hierarchies were maintained and consolidated.”6

Bela Ewald Althans with Léon Degrelle (undated). Posted on the blog of Bela Ewald Althans.

The KAH was founded in 1984 in a pub on the Puerta del Sol in Madrid. The founding members are unofficially Thomas Brehl, Michael Kühnen, Léon Degrelle and Michael Caignet as well as other neo-Nazi functionaries from Europe.

Althans also joined the KAH in 1984, which ultimately was banned as a successor organization of the ANS/NA in 1995. From that point on, Althans sought to develop his own profile internationally, working closely with Yvan Blot in France and CEDADE (Léon Degrelle) in Spain.16

The aim of the KAH was on the surface to prepare for the celebrations marking the 100th birthday of Adolf Hitler to be held in 1989, which were to act as a kind of beacon for a Europe-wide networking and the creation of a common movement from the fragmented neo-Nazi scene. But as Althans mentioned it also served as means to “maintain and consolidate” hierarchies in the neo-Nazi sphere.

FAP meeting in Münster with Bela Ewald Althans and Otto Ernst Remer. Picture posted on Bela Ewald Althans’ blog.

The organization had a European orientation and was to function as a network of various far-right parties and associations. Among the best known organizations were the Fasceaux Nationalistes Européens (FNE, France), the National Socialist Irish Workers Party (NSIWP, Ireland), the National Socialist Party of the United Kingdom (NSPUK, United Kingdom), the Vlaamse Militanten Orde (Belgium), and the Austrian National Front. In Germany, it was primarily the Freiheitliche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (FAP) and the Nationale Offensive (NO) that supported the KAH.

Althans, Kühnen and many other ANS/NA members had all joined the neo-Nazi FAP (1979-1995), after the ANS/NA was outlawed, considered the largest militant neo-Nazi organization in Germany at the time.

Althans said about his role in the KAH:

“I was appointed by Thomas Brehl with a certificate to the head of department (KAH - Deputy Chairman), which gave me a special position, as long as I remained in neo-Nazi circles ... Uwe Börner (Chemnitz - later also ‘Special Head of Department OST’ [Sonder-Referatsleiter OST]) and Frank Rennicke became deputies!”6

Uwe Börner, Thomas Brehl and Bela Ewald Althans at the Winter solstice celebrations in Mainz-Gonsenheim in 1984.
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1986 - German Youth Education Center

Althans became increasingly focused on building up structures for the ideological training and education of his compatriots, and on networking with the old Nazi guard.

Among them Professor Werner Georg Haverbeck, former confidant of the anthroposopher Rudolf Steiner, whom Althans had known already for some time, as well as “three active professors from Munich University.”17 Althans also met members of the so-called “Obersalzberg clan,” the survivors of the families of Todt and Himmler, including the leader's pilot Hans Baur.17

Supported by his sponsors, Althans and others founded an association in March 1986 under the inconspicuous name of “German Youth Education Center” (Deutsches Jugendbildungswerk, DJBW).18

According to Althans, “the idea behind it came from the former Goebbels consultant Krämer, who suggested a ‘spiritual unification’ of the ‘movement.’”17

The DJBW  was founded in the house of Karl Polacek in Mackenrode in the Harz Mountains, and Althans was made its head at the time.6 Althans says in his blog that he tried to keep the DJBW separate from “the movement”:

“I dragged the DJBW along and kept it close  - it was not solely anchored in the ‘movement’ but served as a hub for most diverse thinkers from all political directions. From a state chairman of the Greens to members of the Viking Youth and the Nerother Wandervogel, from members of the German Armed Forces and fraternities to neo-Nazis and loners, about 60 - 100 people came together irregularly in a smaller circle. Among other things, I succeeded in making large buildings (castles) available to the DJBW in Paris, then in Hochscharten and finally in Vellexon, where I also held international events in addition to conferences.”6

According to Germany’s domestic secret services, the DJBW was the “hub for the whole scene,” which it estimated at around 39,000 people at that time. According to the head of domestic security, the DJBW represented “the most dangerous, modern and revisionist youth group in Germany.”19

Althans' deputy became his close friend Uwe Börner, a protégé of Ernst Zündel, who had joined Kühnen at the same time as Althans.20

Coming from Chemnitz (GDR), Börner had spent four years in Bautzen in a high security prison for “attempted escape from the republic,”20 before the FRG redeemed the prisoner in the 1970s.6

In 1983 Börner got to know Ernst Zündel, and in 1984 Althans, who said about Börner: “Because of his origin Michael Kühnen used him secretly as so-called Special Department Head East’ (Sondereferatsleiter Ost). In this context Börner organized the distribution of material about/in Prague.”6

In 1986, while in jail, Kühnen had his coming-out as homosexual. This happened following an incisive incident during the so-called “European Leaders Thing” (Europäischer Führer-Thing), when the neo-Nazi functionary Thomas Brehl got caught while having oral sex with another attendee. This would start off a witch-hunt that, according to Althans, cost several European leaders their position, e.g. in France, the Netherlands and England.

In response to critics within the neo-Nazi movement, Kühnen argued that his lack of a family meant he had more time to devote to militancy, and he pointed out that Ernst Röhm was also a gay Nazi.21 However, Kühnen lost much support in the strongly homophobic neo-Nazi scene. The FAP split, with Kühnen’s former ally Friedhelm Busse leading the larger anti-gay wing, which held effective control of the party by 1989.21

Althans, although outing himself later as homosexual, still considered all gays to be perverts at the time,17 and turned against Kühnen. In a 1991 documentary he attributed his split with Kühnen to ideological differences though:22

Bela Ewald Althans: ... in 1986 Kühnen and I went different ways, because Kühnen was fighting for things I could not support.

Michael Schmidt: Like what?

BEA: Well, he tried to establish a so-called ‘special line’ in the fight, a revolutionary line: Ernst Röhm, Strasser, and so on, which was not my line.

MS: What was your line?

BEA: My line was that I was very ‘Hitleristic,’ and I said everything that Hitler did was correct. And he said, Hitler made mistakes.

MS: Was Hitler perfect?

BEA: Compared to whatever human beings existed in this world, he was the most perfect person.”

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1988 - United States & Canada

Althans tried to dodge the turmoil created by the rift, and went his own way. He hooked up with the historical-revisionist publisher Ernst Zündel in Canada, “in order to spark a revisionist debate in Germany.”17

According to Althans, he met Zündel for the first time in January 1988 in Toronto. The German Zündel, living in Canada, had built up Samisdat Publishers Ltd, a small publishing company specialized in historical-revisionist, anti-semitic and Nazistic titles. Among Samisdat's catalogue one can find titles such as The Hitler We Loved and Why, UFOs: Nazi Secret Weapon?, or The Six Million Swindle, and other works brimming with wild conspiracy theories.

Ernst Zündel with Ewald Althans in the 1990s. Picture posted on Ewald Althans' blog.

In December 1980, the West German Federal Ministry of Finance told the Bundestag that between January 1978 and December 1979, “200 shipments of right-wing content, including books, periodicals, symbols, decorations, films, cassettes, and records” had been intercepted entering West Germany; these shipments “came overwhelmingly from Canada.” On April 23, 1981, the West German government sent a letter to the Canadian Jewish Congress, confirming that the source of the material was Samisdat Publishers.23

In the years to come Zündel would be faced with a series of lawsuits because of holocaust denial.

Zündel was extremely well networked in the world of the holocaust deniers. Zündel was closely working with the “stars” of the scene, among them David Irving, Fred Leuchter, and David Cole (aka David Stein).

Fred Leuchter, Kirk Lyons and Bela Ewald Althans. Picture posted on Bela Ewald Althans' blog.
Bela Ewald Althans (left), Ernst Zündel (center) and David Cole (right) (undated). Posted on the blog of Bela Ewald Althans.

 

According to Althans, Zündel and him were supported in their efforts to form a (verbatim) “Brown International” by a CDU Bundestag member.17

During Althans' time in Toronto, in January 1988, his closest friend and “second son” to Zündel, Uwe Börner had killed himself with only 27 years.6 Börner, being sought by the police in Germany, had in summer 1987 fled to Denmark. According to Althans, Börner was on the run “because of the threat of imprisonment for various propaganda offenses in connection with the release of Rudolf Hess.”6 In Denmark Börner was sheltered by prominent holocaust denier Thies Christopherson (1918-1997), but eventually took his life there in January 1988.2024 On his blog Althans said about Börner:

“Uwe Börner, who had become like a son to Zündel for about five years, and who not only stood by my side as my closest friend and confidant, but also as deputy director of the DJBW, had taken his own life during my stay in Canada.”6

In 1988 Althans spent also several months in the United States where he worked closely with Tom Metzger, appearing on his radio show where they discussed their mutual admiration for the antisemitism of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.25

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1989 - South America

In the spring of 1989, Althans set off on a long journey through South America on behalf of Samisdat Publishers Ltd.

He met a number of people with whom he had been in contact before and during the trip. The journey took him via New York to Chile. From there he continued his journey via Argentina to Brazil.26

Below a short profile of some of the people he met during his South American trip in 1989.

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Santiago de Chile: Miguel Serrano

Miguel Serrano as Ambassador to India in 1957.

In Santiago de Chile Althans met with Miguel Serrano (1917 – 2009), a Chilean diplomat, writer, occultist, and fascist activist.

A Nazi sympathizer in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Serrano, as an exponent of Esoteric Hitlerism, became a prominent figure in the neo-Nazi movement after WWII.

In his arcane work Serrano insists that there has been a vast historical conspiracy to conceal the origins of evolved humankind.

His work falls into the same lineage as H. P. Blavatsky, René Guénon and Julius Evola, who all shared the belief in “Hyperboreans,” a race of giants mentioned in Greek mythology who were deemed to live “beyond the North Wind.”

According to these esotericists this purely spiritual race was dwelling in the immaterial and elusive (Northern) realm of Hyperborea, where civilization and spirituality would have seen their Golden Age, but by meddling with the material world went through a process of solidification and thus devolution. Consequently man had not descended from but progressively devolved into his apelike condition, by falling prey to the demonic energies of the South Pole, the greatest point of materialization.2728

Serrano venerated the SS as an esoteric order that had been in search of the “Holy Grail of the Hyperborean blood.” He practiced yoga and secret rites at the Wewelsburg to restore the Aryan memory and to achieve a “Great Transmutation” in God-men.

How absurd and far-out that may sound to an inquiring mind, these intrinsically racist tropes have been circulating (not only) in the neo-Nazi underground, and spread like wildfire with the dawn of the internet.

Serrano’s bizarre theories reverberate also in the catalogue of Zündel’s Samisdat, with titles such as Secret Nazi Polar Expeditions (1978), or Hitler at the South Pole (1979), both co-authored by Zündel, where he goes on the daring mission to proof that UFOs are really Nazi airships, flying reconnaissance missions from a secret base at or near the South Pole. Along with Willibald Mattern, a German émigré living in Santiago, Chile, Zündel also wrote UFOs: Nazi Secret Weapon?.

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Villa Gen. Belgrano: [former. Volksgruppenführer] Josef “Sepp” Janko

Photo of Josef Janko by Bela Ewald Althans in Belgrano, Buenos Aires, 1989.

Josef "Sepp" Janko (1905- 2001) was a Volksgruppenführer ("Group Leader") of the Danube Swabian German Cultural Association (Schwäbisch-Deutschen Kulturbundes) in Yugoslavia in 1939, and later was appointed SS Obersturmführer during World War II. Janko offered Heinrich Himmler to set up a regiment of about 3,000 local ethnic Germans, with limited service interaction with the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS. Subsequently, in April 1942, Himmler created the 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division Prinz Eugen and began to conscript Volksdeutsche from Banat and Romania.

Sepp Janko bragged about his ability to recruit sons of ethnic Germans from the Banat region. This excerpt was used in Nuremberg war crimes trial in May of 1946:

“ … I put at the disposal of the Fuehrer almost the entire German national group in the former State of Yugoslavia and gave him so many volunteers as soldiers, is to me a subject of great pride.”29

Janko was able to escape the National Liberation Army (Yugoslavia) in late 1944 to Austria, where he was arrested by United States forces and taken to the Wolfsberg camp in Carinthia. He was interned with the Nazi ambassador to the Independent State of Croatia (Siegfried Kasche) and the German minority leader in Croatia (Branimir Altgayer). Both of the latter were delivered by the British to Tito and executed, but Janko managed to flee internment to Italy before his extradition from the camp. In 1951 he fled to Argentina with a pass from the Red Cross, issued in the name of José Petri.

Janko was indicted by the Yugoslav government for war crimes. At the instigation of the Yugoslav government, he was arrested and imprisoned until his scheduled extradition. But due to the intervention by President Juan Perón, Janko was released. He remained in Belgrano, Buenos Aires until his death in 2001, aged 95.

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Buenos Aires: Wilfred von Oven

Wilfred von Oven

Wilfred von Oven (1912 – 2008) was between 1943 and the German capitulation in 1945 the personal press adjutant of former NS propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

After the war, von Oven initially worked under a false name as an interpreter and typist for the British military administration in Germany.

In 1951 von Oven - equipped with a press card signed by the co-owner of Der Spiegel, Rudolf Augstein - went to Argentina. As a foreign correspondent he reported from the South American state for Der Spiegel and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.30 Later he wrote for the German-language Argentine newspaper Freie Presse and published La Plata Ruf under his own direction.

In June 2013 the German Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND) admitted that von Oven had worked under various aliases for German intelligence since 1950, first for the Gehlen Organization, and until 1966 for the BND as an informant.31

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Buenos Aires: Jacques de Mahieu

Jacques de Mahieu in Buenos Aires in 1989. Picture posted on Bela Ewald Althans' blog.

Jacques de Mahieu, whose real name is Jacques Girault, (1915–1990) was a collaborationist in the Charlemagne Division during the Third Reich.

Having escaped to South America, he would become a Peronist ideologue in the 1950s, and mentor to several nationalist Roman Catholic youth groups in the 1960s.32

He developed a knack for “esoteric anthropology,” which he mixed with anthropological theories inspired by scientific racism.

Thus Mahieu spread the thesis that the Vikings had already travelled to America in 967 and had founded the ruling caste of the Incas there, while paying particular attention to sexual excesses.33  His books on the Knights Templar allege they settled in Mexico before Columbus. Mahieu’s major works were translated to German by Wilfred von Oven (see above) and published by the Grabert Verlag.

Later in life, he allegedly headed of the Argentine chapter of Spanish neo-Nazi group CEDADE.

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Porto Allegre: Siegfried Ellwanger Castan

Siegfried Ellwanger Castan

Siegfried Ellwanger Castan (1928 - 2010) was a Brazilian industrialist, revisionist writer and publisher.

He founded Editora Revisão, a publishing house pumping out anti-Semitic books with a particular focus of holocaust denial.

In his works he would make frequent reference to Fred Leuchter, the holocaust denial celebrity working with Ernst Zündel, whom Althans also had met at some point.

Ellwanger worked his way up from a small retailer to the top management of the Brazilian steel industry. He was instrumental in the development of the Rio Grande do Sul area. Later he worked as an economic delegate for the government and played a decisive role in the cooperation between his home country and Germany, Great Britain and Cuba (he admired Fidel Castro).

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1990 - David Irving lecture

On April 20, 1990 Althans organized a Holocaust denial conclave in the Löwenbräukeller in Munich at which the guest of honor was the holocaust denier David Irving. The evening consisted of both speeches and performances mocking the Holocaust.3435 There is footage of the event showing i.a. Michael Kühnen and National Front’s publishing head, Anthony Hancock, in the audience.36

During an event featuring prominent holocaust denier David Irving as a speaker entitled “Wahrheit macht frei,” organized by the German neo-Nazi Bela Ewald Althans at the Löwenbräukeller in Munich on April 21, 2019.

From the state, Althans personally greeted Kühnen and Manfred Roeder, a former Wehrmacht soldier, later lawyer, prominent holocaust denier and far-right terrorist. In 1980 the “German Action Groups” (Deutsche Aktionsgruppen), a neo-Nazi organisation founded by Roeder, carried out attacks against buildings that housed foreign workers and asylum seekers.37 Roeder was classified as a terrorist by German legal authorities as a result of these activities.38

Although Otto Ernst Remer was also present at the event,39 by this time Althans had broken from Remer, leading to personal bitterness between the two.

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1991 - Althans Distribution and PR

After Kühnen died of HIV in April 1991, Althans became one of the best known activists and speakers of the German neo-Nazi scene, taking advantage of his sophisticated rhetoric, his imposing personal appearance (6'4" tall) and his fluency in French and English.4019

According to Althans' own account, it was since 1991 that he had worked for the German domestic secret services (Verfassungsschutz) as an informant.

Working with Christian Worch, Althans sought to expand neo-Nazi operations in Germany while at the same time reuniting the pro- and anti-Kühnen factions that had formed as a result of the “homosexual rift” in 1986. This included working in secret with less underground groups that officially had to disavow Nazism, such as the National Democratic Party of Germany and the German People's Union. 41 Particularly the building of stronger organizational bases in the former East Germany was an objective.

Ewald Althans and Gottfried Küssel on the way to the “Rudolf Heß Memorial March” (Rudolf-Heß-Gedenkmarsch) in August 1991.

Around that time Althans also allied himself to the Institute for Historical Review and attended a number of their conferences.42

He furthermore became involved in the organization of the “Rudolf Heß Memorial March” (Rudolf-Heß-Gedenkmarsch), which since 1987 is taking place on August 17 every year, and has evolved into a highlight on the calendar of the German and international neo-Nazi scene.

Althans Vertriebswege und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit (AVÖ)

AVÖ office in Munich with Bela Ewald Althans on the right holding the Imperial War Flag (Reichskriegsflagge).

By 1991 Althans had his own office in a high-end Munich distric,40 where he ran a distribution and PR agency called “Althans Distribution Channels and Public Relations” (Althans Vertriebswege und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, AVÖ).19

According to Althans, “For about three years, the Munich office or shop with an attached apartment was financed exclusively by Ernst Zündel’s Samisdat Publishers LTD; additionally I got my own salary and expenses from Canada. For this I have provided appropriate services in return.”619

Ernst Zündel (left), Jürgen Rieger (center) and Bela Ewald Althas (right) at the AVÖ in Munich in 1991. Picture posted on Bela Ewald Althans' blog.
Ewald Althans in front of the Office of Althans Vertriebswege und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit (AVÖ)

Zündel appeared occasionally at the AVÖ, for example in 1991, with neo-Nazi celebrity lawyer and former NPD official Jürgen Rieger (1946-2009).

In 1991, Althans is featured in a 1991 documentary by Michael Schmidt called Wahrheit macht frei, in which prominent figures from the neo-Nazi and historical revisionist scene of the 1990s were portrayed.43 Kühnen, who is featured prominently in the documentary had died just shortly before the film was published.

Documentary by Michael Schmidt about neo-Nazis and holocaust deniers published in 1991 after two years of extensive research.

Gerrit Et Wolsink. Screenshot from the documentary Wahrheit macht frei by Michael Schmidt.

It was Kühnen himself who established the contact between Schmidt and a certain Gerrit Et Wolsink, an elusive figure, who according to the neo-Nazi forum Stormfront was a Waffen SS officer & Werwolf operative, who had worked with US intelligence after WWII.44

According to Michael Schmidt, Wolsink was the international liaison to Kühnen and his network, and potentially working with American intelligence.

That Wolsink had collaborated with US secret services in the postwar years transpires in the interview, although he refuses to give any details about his work. He merely states that he had not much of a choice back then, and also that he shared the US’s anti-communist stance. Nonetheless, he was ready to show his membership card of the NSDAP-AO. Schmidt could also get some snapshots of the interior of Wolsink’s house, filled with SS paraphernalia.

Gerrit Et Wolsink's NSDAP-AO membership card from 1990. Screenshot from the 1991 documentary Wahrheit macht frei by Michael Schmidt.
1990s SS paraphernalia at Wolsink's house. Screenshot of the 1991 documentary Wahrheit macht frei by Michael Schmidt.

Wolsink is mentioned as a Gladio operative in a German book on intelligence activities of non-state actors:45

“In the framework of his numerous activities in the Western European neo-Nazi scene he was, among other things, responsible for the security for the British National Socialist Movement and ‘reviewed the international contacts of the British.’”

Martin Lee mentions about Wolsink in The Beast Reawakens:46

“West German officials banned the ANS[/NA] in December 1983, but affiliates continued to function in neighboring countries, including the Netherlands, where the Aktionsfront Nationaler Sozialisten was led by SS veteran Et Wolsink. A wartime member of one of Otto Skorzeny’s special sabotage units, Wolsink also ran the Dutch section of the Viking Youth.”

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1992 - Digital networking

At a time when the use of computers for activism was still in its infancy Althans made use of such technologies, notably in late August 1992 when he was able to arrange for hundreds of supporters to gather in Rostock at night in order to rally at a refugee apartment complex.47 The protest turned into a three-day riot in which the complex was badly damaged by petrol bombs, which sparked a wave of violent assaults against foreigners in Germany and beyond.48

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1993 - Travels to Ukraine & Russia

Alexander Barkashov (left) with Bela Ewald Althans (right), presumably in 1993.
Bela Ewald Althans (left) with former KGB chef Alexander Sterligov (center) in Moscow.

Althans began to look for new allies in Eastern Europe and reportedly spoke at events for the veterans of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Ukrainian) in Ukraine in 1993, whilst also making trips to Russia to open contact with Russian National Unity leader Alexander Barkashov.49

Althans met also with former KGB general Alexander Sterligov, and attending a fascist congress co-organized by the latter in Moscow.26

Another Russian that he met during that trip was one Anatoli Ivanov. It must have been also around that time that he met Ion Marii of the Iron Guard.26

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1994 - Russia travels & Imprisonment

Vladimir Zhirinovsky (left), Ernst Zündel (2nd from left) and Bela Ewald Althans (2nd from right). Picture posted on Bela Ewald Althans' blog.

Althans' journeys were mostly funded by Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel and the two went to Russia together in August 1994 where relations with Barkashov and other far right leaders were cemented.50 The pair also met Vladimir Zhirinovsky, although Althans was unimpressed with the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader, suggesting that Zhirinovsky's anti-Semitism was merely opportunistic rather than ideological like his own.51

In 1994 he reportedly also met with members of the Golden Dawn and the Parti des Forces Nouvelles et Européennes (PFNE) in France:20

"Vellexon is a place in France, at the southern end of Alsace-Lorraine. The owners of the castle there were comrades of the PFNE, whose chairman, the teacher Claude Cornilleau and I had close and friendly contacts. Still in 1994 the Greek Golden Dawn, the PFNE and the circle around my former AVÖ/DJBW operation had come together there for a common solstice celebration."

On an undated picture Althans can also be seen with Golden Dawn founder Nikolaos Michaloliakos in Athens. It might have been at the first Golden Dawn Congress in February 1990, since a similar picture exists from that event.52

Bela Ewald Althans with Nikolaos Michaloliakos in Athens.

In 1994 Althans ran for the NPD in the Munich local elections, but his political aspirations came to a sudden halt when in December of that year he was sentenced to prison for distributing a video that denied the Holocaust. Whilst still in jail, he faced further charges relating to comments he made in a documentary about him, Beruf Neonazi, claiming that the Auschwitz concentration camp was little more than a holiday resort. During the trial Althans attempted to defend himself by claiming that he had renounced neo-Nazism and had been an agent for the German domestic secret service (Verfassungsschutz) since 1991.53

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1995 - BND informant

On 10 July 1995, Der Spiegel reported that Althans had been working for the Bavarian Intelligence agency. According to Der Spiegel reported at the time:54

“Althans reported in detail on the German neo-Nazi scene and its international relations, for example to North America and Russia. Because he had good connections among right-wing radicals and was also very communicative, he was regarded as a top informant by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.”

But apparently the collaboration had been terminated by the agency because of “lack of truthfulness of reports.”54 During the Althans trial at the Berlin Regional Court, on August  1, 1995, Bavarian intelligence chief Gerhard Forster denied the Spiegel’s allegations, but admitted to two meetings of intelligence officials with Althans in 1994. During a first meeting on February 23, 1994 Althans allegedly had offered “extensive files” on the German neofascist scene for a sum of DM 360,000. During a second meeting on March 10, 1994, this offer would have been rejected by the intelligence officials.55

Ultimately his defence failed and he had an additional three and a half year sentence added on to that which he was already serving.56 Around that time Althans started to openly live his homosexuality.20

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Post-activist life

Althans left the neo-Nazi scene following his release and disappeared altogether, later being reported as living under a new identity in Belgium. He subsequently gave his private papers from his neo-Nazi days to the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.1

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Bibliography

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