Hendrik Möbus

Hendrik Möbus (born January 20, 1976, in Sondershausen) is a German neo-Nazi, musician and convicted murderer, and known as the founder of the now defunct German Heathen Front. Möbus has been described as a “authoritative protagonist” of the National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) scene, an explicitly neo-Nazi sub-genre of black/death metal.1 Klaus Farin, a German specialist of youth and subcultures, sees Möbus’ musical activities as an attempt to politicize the black metal scene, and steer it towards right-wing extremism.2

In the persona of Möbus several threads of contemporary neo-Nazism run together. First a satanist black metal fan, later a pagan neo-Nazi, Möbus has navigated several extreme subcultural turfs. From the mid-1990s onwards, Möbus fostered the transnational exchange between neo-Nazi, neopagan and NSBM groups: among them neo-Nazis from Norway (Varg Vikernes and the Heathen Front) and the US (Nathan Patt of the White Order of Thule and William Pierce of the National Alliance). Recently his contacts to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion in Ukraine and to members of the American Atomwaffen Division have emerged. Besides ideology, NSBM seems the binding element of these contacts, a genre which Möbus has influenced significantly.

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Early Years

Young Hendrik Möbus in Auschwitz with a flag of the Celtic Cross, forbidden in Germany.

Hendrik Möbus was born in 1976 in Sondershausen, Thuringia, as the son of Walter Möbus, who later became a member of the Thuringian CDU state parliament.34 In his childhood he came into contact with genealogy, German history, folklore and fairy tales, and despite the atheistic orientation prevalent in the GDR, he went to church and could familiarize himself with religious topics there.5 Already in his early teenage years he was rather rebellious. He got a Mohawk haircut at the age of 13,6 and by tuning into West German radio stations started to listen to music that was frowned upon in the GDR, such as punk, Oi! and metal.5

After the reunification of East and West Germany, in 1990/1991, Möbus got to know black metal bands like Mayhem, Beherit and Darkthrone, whose album A Blaze in the Northern Sky inspired him to form his own band in 1992. At the age of 16 he founded the band “Absurd”, which at first was more attached to Oi!, Rock Against Communism (RAC) and horror punk bands like “Der Fluch”,7 and was ridiculed for its dilettantism. Möbus played drums and named himself “Randall Flagg” on his first Absurd releases, after a character from Stephen King’s novel The Stand.3 He was considered the most conspicuous member of the clique around the band.8 Möbus had “shaved off his hair on one side, liked to adorn himself with chains, heavy boots and spiky collars” and wore earrings with satanic or anarchist symbols.6

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Murder in Sondershausen

In 1993 the three band members of Absurd murdered their classmate, a 15-year-old boy named Sandro Beyer. The case made headlines all over Germany, and was often presented as a “Satanic murder” in the press, given the identification of the trio with Satanism. However, a closer look at the case indicates that the three had killed Beyer because he knew too much about the group’s activities, and the group saw no other way out than getting rid of their classmate. The murder followed no Satanic ritual, they simply strangulated Beyer to death with a power cable and buried him at a nearby construction site. Investigator’s later found a list, in which Beyer had collected names of movies the group has watched, most of them either censored or subject to the protection of minors, such as splatter and horror movies, or movies glorifying the NS era.9

Möbus was sentenced to eight years in juvenile court for a collectively planned murder, deprivation of liberty and coercion. He first spoke about the murder in an exchange of letters with the American journalist Michael Moynihan, in which he described Beyer as a “people’s parasite” and spoke about the neo-Nazi sentiments he had developed during his imprisonment.10

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Absurd & Darker Than Black Records

In juvenile prison new recordings of Absurd were made, which were secretly smuggled out and published, first as self-releases on cassette, and up from 1995 as real CDs and vinyls. On these records Möbus used the pseudonym Jarl Flagg Nidhögg, in reference to the Nordic princely title Jarl and the dragon Nidhöggr from Nordic mythology. On later records of Absurd and in interviews he used the abbreviation JFN,11 or, alternatively, XVIXIV, Roman numbers standing for the letters JFN. The use of pseudonyms became a trademark of Möbus, who at times had also called himself Joe Ramone, Messiah, Randall the Vandal, or Hagen von Tronje. While the music and lyrics for Absurd were initially not written by Möbus, he drafted song texts for the bands Abigor, Tha-Norr, Graveland, Siren, Funeral Winds, Liar of Golgotha and Wolfsburg. In 1994 Hendrik and his brother Roland (Wolf) also founded their own record label, Darker Than Black Records, which today is among the biggest NSBM publishers in Germany.12

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German Heathen Front

Varg Vikernes in prison

After Möbus was released on parole in 1998, he founded the “German Heathen Front” (Deutsche Heidnische Front, DHF), an offshoot of the “Heathen Front,” which goes back to the Black Metal musician Varg Vikernes, a Norwegian neo-Nazi, who in 1993 had also been convicted of a murder, and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

The DHF saw itself as an alternative to other pagan groups, but with a particularly völkisch outlook. The group described itself as an “Indo-Germanic, pagan grouping,” whose aim was to live according to an allegedly reconstructed “Germanic faith.”

The members believed that their actions were backed by Nordic mythology, and that they lived true spirituality. Thus, the DHF stood in the tradition of worshiping pseudo-Germanic beliefs and traditions, much alike the NSDAP, the Völkisch Movement or the Thule Society. The DHF showed explicit solidarity with an already existing racist and neopagan association, the Artgemeinschaft (“Species Community”), founded by the former SS member Wilhelm Kusserow in the postwar era.13

The ideology of the DHF was initially bluntly nationalistic, racist, and anti-Semitic. One of the main objectives was formulated as “securing the existence of all Germanic peoples.” Furthermore the group adhered to the “Fourteen Words” of the American right-wing extremist David Eden Lane.

Algiz runes and Wotan's eye on the flag of the "German Heathen Front."

Until 2000 the DHF consisted mainly of Thuringian activists.13 In 2001, a change in management was accompanied by an attempt to polish the group’s image in order to have a wider outreach.13 To this end the group tried to appear more moderate to the outside world, but continued to propagate ariosophical and nationalistic views.13 These were “expressed above all in an overvaluation of the Nordic (Aryan) race.”13 In that period the DHF published the magazine Tuisto, which appeared irregularly and saw itself as a magazine for “culture, history and Neopaganism.”

According to its own account, the DHF consisted of free cells, so-called “Gaue” (Gau referring to a district level in Nazi Germany). In these district cells, members, supporters and friends of the DHF celebrated “old festivals at traditional places in order to cultivate Germanic mythology and pagan customs,”13 especially festivals related to “sun worship.” For example, in 2002 a summer solstice celebration took place at the Rothenburg castle ruin, which had previously been used by the SS for ritualistic purposes.13

It is not clear when Hendrik Möbus dropped out of the organization, but the DHF ceased its activities in 2005, according to its own statements.

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Early release and escape to the US

Next to his activities in the DHF, Möbus started to perform with the band Absurd again after his early release on parole, while consolidating his contacts in the black metal and right-wing extremist scene. In 1999, the Absurd EP Asgardsrei was released, which became an NSBM “classic”. Its significance in the scene is indicated by the fact that it was reissued several times by different labels.14 Together with his brother Ronald, Möbus continued to run their expanding record label, Darker Than Black.

Cassette cover of Absurd’s Thuringian Pagan Madness showing the grave of the murdered Sandro Beyer.

That Möbus was altogether intransigent towards his neo-Nazi beliefs became apparent very quickly. Just two weeks after his release from prison, he said in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung: “I don’t know if you would have been punished in the Nazi era if you had destroyed a people’s parasite.”At a concert of Absurd in Behringen, which Möbus had organized with his brother, he showed the Hitler salute on stage and shouted “Sieg Heil!”

Legal consequences were inevitable, and already in July 1999 he had been sentenced to eight months in prison by the Erfurt District Court for wearing a swastika patch during a music concert and showing the Hitler salute.15 Further convictions followed: At the end of 1999, the Tiergarten District Court sentenced him to one and a half years, the Eisenach District Court to eight months imprisonment.16 The ultimate reason for revoking Möbus parole was, however, the mockery of his murder victim Sandro Beyer, since it had transpired that while Möbus was still in custody, the music cassette Thuringian Pagan Madness was released, which shows the gravestone of Beyer as a cover picture.

Logo of the White Order of Thule

Möbus appealed against the sentence, and in the middle of the proceedings, in the end of 1999, escaped to the United States. Under his own name he travelled to Washington, and first was hosted by Nathan Pett (also known as Nate Zorn), a leading member of the white suprematist and esoteric Nazi group White Order of Thule.1718 By the time investigators checked his hideout, Möbus had disappeared again.17

Subsequently Möbus was accommodated by William Luther Pierce III in West Virginia, head of the white supremacist National Alliance and author of The Turner Diaries, which have become a kind of bible for US white supremacists. Möbus helped Pierce to expand his label “Resistance Records” and his NSBM mail order business called “Cymofane.” He also wrote for Pierce’s magazine Resistance under the pseudonym “Hagen von Tronje” (after the character from the Nibelungen saga), trying to bring NSBM closer to the readers. The Antifaschistisches Infoblatt (AIB) reported about the episode in detail:17

William Luther Pierce

Described by civil rights activist Leonard Zeskind as the “chief ideologist of the right-wing extremist scene in the USA,” Pierce ran a successful mail order business and the record company “Resistance Records,” one of the world’s largest labels for right-wing music. His farm, located about 300 meters from Marlington’s main road, resembles a fortress: barbed wire, fences, camera surveillance and armed men at the entrance. Möbus worked on this farm under the name “Hans Schmidt,” trying make the right-wing rock scene more receptive for NSBM. This activity ended in August 2000, when he was arrested and led away in handcuffs. His protégé was a “true National Socialist” who had worked for him for ten weeks, explained Pierce after the arrest of Möbus, who had been building up new distribution channels throughout Europe for the American neo-Nazi.

Pierce undertook considerable efforts to help his German fosterling while he was detained in the US. The National Alliance (NA) started a web campaign with the tagline “Free Hendrik Möbus,” which sold t-shirts in support of the cause.

Furthermore, Pierce helped Möbus in the process of applying for asylum in the US, whereby he was activating his longstanding and close German contacts, which the AIB has described as follows:17

"Free Hendrik Möbus" campaign by the National Alliance

Again and again NA representatives took part in events of the NPD and the “Young National Democrats” (JN) in Germany. Conversely, NPD functionaries of the time, such as Alexander von Webenau, traveled to the NA “Leadership Conference” in April 1997, and Pierce himself was among the guests of honor at an NPD event in Passau one year later. Therefor it is not surprising that at the time of Möbus stay with Pierce, another German neo-Nazi, Henrik Ostendorf from Bremen, was on the farm, where he was responsible for office services. Ostendorf was also the translator of a speech by NPD functionary Jürgen Distler at an NPD-inspired and NA-organized solidarity rally for Möbus in Arlington.

According to Martina Renner, a Member of the Bundestag for the Left Party, at Ostendorf’s invitation two other neo-Nazis from Germany, Mirko Hesse and Tino Brandt, traveled to the USA, to serve as character witnesses in support of Möbus. Brandt’s and Hesse’s statements to the US authorities were intended to ensure that Möbus would be granted asylum and thus continue to elude German justice.17

Domestic intelligence informant and neo-Nazi Mirko Hesse

Hesse, founder of a Hammerskins group in Lower Saxony, already knew Möbus, since his own record company, “Hate Records”, had for a short period acted as the parent label of the Möbus brothers’ label, Darker Than Black records.19

At the time, Hesse was working as an undercover agent for the federal German domestic intelligence service (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz) under the code name “Strontium,” while Brandt was working for the Thuringian domestic intelligence service under the code name “Otto”. According to the AIB:17

As one of the central figures of the neo-Nazi music scene, Hesse had produced around 21,000 right-rock CDs within four years, some of which he also distributed. Among them was the CD Ran an den Feind (“Onto the Enemy”) by the neo-Nazi band “Landser,” later prohibited as a criminal organization. During a house search, the police found a loaded semi-automatic gun at Hesse’s home. In 2002, he was sentenced to a four-year prison term for incitement, the usage of symbols of unconstitutional organizations as well as glorification of violence, among other things. Already then, Christian Ströbele, a member of the Bundestag for the Green Party, asked where the line is drawn “between the activities furthered by right-wing extremists themselves and those inspired and financed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.”

The connection to Tino Brandt is rather explosive as well:17

Under the alias “Otto,” Tino Brandt was also on the payroll of the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Thuringia between 1994 until his exposure in 2001. According to Brandt’s own statements, the approximately 200,000 D-Mark he received for his services were largely invested in the right-wing scene. This included the network “Thuringian Homeland Security” (THS), from which the terror network “National Socialist Underground” (NSU) emerged. With the support of the secret service, Brandt contributed significantly to the nationwide networking of the THS. In 1999 Brandt became state press spokesman, and in 2000 deputy state chairman of the Thuringian NPD. Shortly thereafter, he played a leading role in the founding of the Thuringian branch of the NPD youth organization “Young National Democrats” (JN).

Domestic intelligence informant and convicted pedophile hustler Tino Brandt.

But that was not the end of Brandt’s miserable track record. In December 2014, Brandt was sentenced to five and a half years imprisonment relating to 66 cases of sexual abuse of children and adolescents, the aiding and abetting of sexual abuse, and the procuration of prostitution in the period from mid-2011 to mid-2014.20

Despite Brandt’s and Hesse’s deployment as interceders, Möbus’ application for asylum was rejected.21 He was finally deported to Germany in August 2001, apparently with his left elbow broken,22 and imprisoned there.16 Several websites appeared which were pledging for his release, and befriended bands, such as Abyssic Hate, expressed their support. During his imprisonment, Möbus continued to write lyrics for Absurd.

However, the entanglements between neo-Nazi and domestic intelligence activity had not gone unnoticed, and led to a parliamentary inquiry, filed by Martina Renner, Member of the Bundestag for the Left Party. The outcome was less than satisfactory, and fits neatly into the pattern of threadbare excuses, omissions, or recourse to the protection of sources by German domestic intelligence services when confronted with evidence of complicity in right-wing extremist activities. According to the AIB:17

She [Renner] criticized: “The Federal Ministry of the Interior is apparently deliberately obstructing the clarification of a possible involvement of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) in the flight of a neo-Nazi convicted of murder to the USA.” For in its reply to Renner’s questions, the Ministry of the Interior refused to answer questions about the role of the BfV and its informants in the flight of Möbus with reference to the protection of sources

Considering that, the informants in this German-American network could also raise questions about the role of secret services in the distribution of the book “The Turner Diaries.” Written in 1978, the book describes a “race war” in North America and propagates a “pure” revolutionary ideology and the duties of the cadres in an underground organization called “The Order.” Pierce wrote the book under the pseudonym “Andrew Macdonald.” In the mid-1990s, the book also reached Germany, but the German translation was placed on the index [of forbidden publications] by the Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Young Persons in 2006, and was considered the blueprint for the terrorist network “National Socialist Underground” (NSU). Apparently the German-American neo-Nazi network not only helped German neo-Nazis to escape, it also paved the way for the “Turner Diaries” to enter the German militant neo-Nazi scene, which drew inspiration from the book for neo-Nazi attacks and murders.

With its refusal to provide information and the feigned “protection of sources” in response to Renner’s questions, the Ministry of the Interior is apparently unwilling to shed light on the role of this network of clandestine neo-Nazi structures. Such a network might also still support Möbus, who was released from prison in Germany ten years ago [2007]. He moved to Berlin, expanded his right-wing mail-order and label business there, and is active as a concert organizer throughout Europe.

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Life after prison

After Möbus was ultimately released from prison in 2007, he continued to mingle with right-wing extremists, and started to perform again with his band Absurd.23 Between 2008 and 2011, several albums, to which Möbus had contributed, were added to the federal index of forbidden records.24 On October 16, 2009, 12,000 records were confiscated during a raid in Berlin.25 One of the suspected dealers was Hendrik Möbus. The house searches involved Darker than Black Records and the affiliated mail order company Merchant of Death. In January 2011, the Tiergarten district court issued a ten-month suspended sentence against Möbus.26

Event poster of the Asgardrei festival 2019

Today Möbus lives in Berlin, and according to his own statements, works as a music journalist.27 Rumor has it that he has been the driving force behind the controversial black metal magazine Ablaze that emerged in 2007.28 For a while he ran a weblog called “Enemy of the World” (www.weltenfeind.net).27 Besides, Möbus runs a music label and a concert agency with a business partner.29

Since 2017 he has been the singer in a new line-up of the band Absurd.17 In December 2017, he performed with Absurd at the Ukrainian NSBM festival Asgardrei, named after his band’s eponymous cult album from 1999. The festival, taking place annually since 2012, is considered a propaganda event of the neofascist Azov Battalion, and attracts more than 1,000 visitors each year. The first edition of the event took place in Moscow, but according to a post on the website Militant Zone:30

the following year, people behind the fest had to flee the country in order to escape political persecution. In 2014, the Ukrainian revolution attracted many brave souls to Kiev, with it becoming the cradle of a new movement, hereafter known as Militant Black Metal.

The festival is strongly connected to Alexei Levkin, band member of the NSBM band M8L8TH, and his “MilitantZone” website.31

Meanwhile, Möbus continues to promote white supremacist ideas, for example, in the context of a lecture at the 2018 Pact of Steel conference in Ukraine, held each year in the run-up to the Asgardrei festival. Along Olena Semenyaka, Fróði Midjord and others, Möbus was lecturing on “The White God of War: Roman von Ungern-Sternberg.”

Möbus continues to promote white supremacist ideas. For example, during a lecture at the 2018 Pact of Steel conference in Ukraine, along Fróði Midjord and others,32 Möbus was lecturing on "The White God of War: Roman von Ungern-Sternberg."33

Hendrik Möbus lecturing on "The White God of War: Roman von Ungern-Sternberg" in the context of the "Pact of Steel" conference in Ukraine.

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Connection to the Atomwaffen Division

It also transpired that Möbus was in contact with people from the US neo-Nazi terrorist group Atomwaffen Division (AWD). The AWD member Kyle M., an acolyte of the NSBM scene, was apparently in touch with Möbus via Facebook, and had even linked to Möbus’ music businesses on Facebook.34 According to Der Spiegel:34

M. also had contact with other German NSBM musicians. On videos he can be seen with members of an extreme right metal band from the Berlin area. It seems that the music is one of the channels through which racists and right-wing terrorists of the AWD network internationally. One of the leading heads of the Atomwaffen Division, Kaleb Cole, is also considered a supporter of the NSBM scene and is said to have attended relevant concerts in Europe. 

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