Mario Müller is a prominent face in the German Identitarian movement, and appears as a key organizer of far-right events in Saxony-Anhalt and beyond. Müller is the founder of Kontrakultur Halle, a chapter of the German Identitarian Movement in the city of Halle, whose controversial club house is deemed the most important project of the Identitarian Movement in the German-speaking world, according to Christoph D. Richter of Deutschlandfunk. The Halle club house intends to be “a kind of hipster club for the right-wing Tinder generation.”1
Müller grew up in Delmenhorst, close to the city of Bremen, and as a teenager was active in the local neo-Nazi scene (Aktionsgruppe Delmenhorst), but also liaised with the right-wing extremist "Autonomous Nationalists" (Autonome Nationalisten), a collective term for neo-Nazis who have adopted some of the far left's organizational concepts. Before moving to Saxony-Anhalt to study history and political science in Halle, Müller was active in youth cadre of the neo-Nazi NPD party, the "Young National Democrats." Currently he works as a journalist for the far-right magazine Compact by Jürgen Elsässer.
In an interview with Spiegel Online, Müller, who has twice been convicted for assault, says that he used to be "something" like a Nazi, but dismisses this phase as a "youth sin".2 His activities in the framework of Kontrakultur Halle as well as his personal connections point to a continued liaising with the neo-Nazi scene. The far-right expert Torsten Hahnel stated in an article by Belltower News that about two thirds of the members of Kontrakultur Halle, and of the IM in general, come from organized neo-Nazi structures, mainly from the NPD youth organization. "The Identitarian Movement as well as Kontrakultur are contact points for people from right-wing and neo-Nazi structures, who want to strategically distance themselves from these scenes."3 Jochen Hollmann, head of Saxony-Anhalt's domestic intelligence agency, also classifies Kontrakultur Halle and the Identitarian Movement as extreme right-wing, and both groups are monitored by the agency.4
Müller is the author of a book published by Götz Kubitschek's New Right Antaios publishing house, entitled Kontrakultur, sporting the logo of the Identitarian Movement on the cover.5 Kontrakultur, designed as "metapolitical dictionary," contains articles from A to Z dealing with topics relevant to the Identitarian Movement. A passage from the 2017 book reads:6
The term avantgarde was first used in warfare, and designated a vanguard. That, and no less, is what our activist movement wants to be! We are not an initiative of "worried citizens" and misled savers, no diffuse mass movement against "those up there," beating around the bush. We are the pacemakers of that revolution, whose vanguard is already looming in all over Europe."
In 2018, Müller appeared as the co-founder of the "Alternative Help Association" (AHA),7 8 which wants to help "Syrians who are stranded in Lebanese refugee camps to return to their homeland."9 Müller, AHA co-founder Matthias Matussek, and other AHA activists were subsequently traveling to Syria and Lebanon. In Syria they were hosted by Joseph Absi, the patriarch of the Syrian-Melkite Catholics. According to Müller, "together with our Syrian partners we help out in the predominantly Christian Maalula."9
Müller has longstanding connections to the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, a volunteer battalion subordinated to the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior, which first appeared as a paramilitary force in the Euromaidan regime change operation. According to the expert blog Sachsen-Anhalt Rechtsaussen, Müller traveled to Kyiv to be tattooed by Alexey Levsha, who is known in the neo-Nazi scene for his martial style. The tattoo on Müller's right leg quotes a line from a song by the Nazi poet Hans Baumann, a motif that Kontrakultur had used to advertise joint ventures in the past:
Rebels have death and the devil as their companions.
Müller can be seen on a picture with fighters of the Azov Battalion as early as 2014. Müller tagged Levsha in the comment section of the picture, stating "Might need volunteers in Western Europe soon..."10
In 2013, Müller was charged with assault. The judge saw it as proven that the right-wing extremist had attacked a group of four youths on March 4, 2010, at the Delmenhorst market square. Müller had thrown a self-made weapon, consisting of a sock with a 200 gram metal piece inside, onto the forehead of one of the four young people, who suffered a head injury. Nahrath argued that Müller had acted in self-defense. Müller received a seven months and two weeks suspended prison sentence for dangerous bodily harm, and the probation period was set at three years.11 Müller was defended by the neo-Nazi celebrity lawyer Wolfram Nahrath (*1962), particularly known for representing holocaust deniers, such as Ursula Haverbeck, Michèle Renouf or Bishop Richard Williamson. For several decades, members of the Nahrath family headed the outlawed Viking Youth (1952-1994), a post-war neo-Nazi organization based on the model of the Hitler Youth. Wolfram Nahrath took over the leadership of the Viking Youth from his father in 1991 until its ban in 1994. After that he became active in the "German Youth Loyal to the Homeland" (Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend, HDJ), a VY successor, and was appointed to the NPD’s internal “Federal Court of Arbitration.” Currently Nahrath runs a law firm in Berlin, and lately was in the limelight because he appeared as the public defender of local NPD politician Ralf Wohlleben, who had helped to acquire weapons for the neo-Nazi terrorist organization National Socialist Underground.
Wolfram Nahrath (center) together with Mario Müller (right) in Delmenhorst, 2013.
In 2014, Müller was meeting members of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion.
In January 2015 Müller took part in a torchlight march in Kyiv commemorating the Ukrainian Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.
In September 2016, Müller took part in a summer academy organized by the New Right ideologue and publisher Götz Kubitschek in his country estate in Schnellroda.
In 2017, Müller and Martin Sellner, the head of the Identitarian movement in Austria, attended the summer festival of Publicatio e.V., the sponsor of the far-right magazine Arcadi. Founder of Publicatio e.V. and publisher of Arcadi is the AfD politician Yannick Noé.
In May 2017, Mario Müller, along with numerous IM members from Austria, France and Italy, took part in a campaign in Catania, Sicily. They tried to prevent a rescue ship of the relief organization SOS Mediterranee from leaving the port. Müller apparently did not take part in the action itself, but appeared in a video.10
In August 2017, Müller took part in a project of Defend Europe, the pan-European project of the Identitarian Movement. Defend Europe had collected more than $200,000 in a crowdfunding project to charter a ship in the Mediterranean in order to prevent refugees from entering Europe by sea. The Defend Europe sea mission was supported by prominent far-right actors worldwide, among them former “Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan,” David Duke.12
In Nov. 2017, Mario Müller und Dorian Schubert of Kontrakultur Halle, armed with police protection equipment, pepper spray, a baton and a baseball bat, attacked two civilian police officers.13
On March 6, 2020, Mario Müller and three other right-wing extremists were spotted on the island of Lesbos, where they were pretending to be journalists.14 It is not known what exactly they did on the island, but it is likely that they joined other neo-Nazis in their actions against refugees. A companion of Müller, the NPD politician Jonathan Stumpf from Mannheim, was attacked and injured at the head. The other two persons of the group visiting Lesbos were Austrian Identitarians: Fabian Rusnjak from the Steiermark region and Stefan Juritz, chief editor of the Austrian Identitarian news site tagesstimme.at.15 Both were among the first members of the Austrian Identitarians, and both are members of right-wing fraternities. Rusnjak, one of the founding members of the Identitarian Movement in Vienna, is known to be extremely violent. During an IM action in Graz at the location of a planned refugee center, Rusnjak had reportedly attacked antifascist counter-demonstrators with a telescope baton.16 He used to be a soldier of the Austrian Federal Army and had been deployed in Kosovo as a sniper of a border patrol team.17
On August 29, 2020, Müller took part in a mass demonstration of Corona deniers in Berlin, among them hardcore neo-Nazis, Reich Citizens (Reichsbürger), Identitarians, anti-vaxxers, adherents to the Qanon conspiracy theory, and other proponents lured into the "crossfront" under an anti-scientific and conspiracist umbrella.18
The neo-Nazi Mario Müller (center) at the August 29, 2020, Querdenken demonstration. Behind him co-head of the Identitarian movement in Germany, Daniel Fiß.
- 1Christoph D. Richter, “Rechtes Hausprojekt in Halle: AfD und Identitäre unter einem Dach,” Deutschlandfunk, November 4, 2017, https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/rechtes-hausprojekt-in-halle-afd-und-identitaere-unter.1773.de.html?dram:article_id=399843.
- 2Takis Würger, "'Identitäre Bewegung': Das Postergirl der neuen Rechten," Spiegel, May 28, 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20170612022532/http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/melanie-schmitz-der-star-der-ultrarechten-identitaeren-bewegung-a-1149449.html.
- 3Kira Ayyadi, "'Kontrakultur' Halle: Eine rechtsextreme Marketing-Agentur," Belltower News, May 30, 2017, https://www.belltower.news/kontrakultur-halle-eine-rechtsextreme-marketing-agentur-44088/.
- 4"Die AfD und ihre Verbindungen zur Neuen Rechten," MDR, March 15, 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20170507181536/http://www.mdr.de/exakt/afd-neue-rechte-100.html.
- 5"Mario Müller: Kontrakultur," https://antaios.de/gesamtverzeichnis-antaios/einzeltitel/41459/kontrakultur
- 6Cited in Andreas Speit, Das Netzwerk der Identitären: Ideologie und Aktionen der Neuen Rechten (Ch. Links Verlag, 2018), 74, https://books.google.se/books?id=38JwDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA73&lpg=PA73&dq=%22mario+m%C3%BCller%22+kontrakultur&source=bl&ots=52CLnVCK60&sig=ACfU3U0gzulDfb7xXS5Dnsr5KRP-1m9EpA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjNs7ScwLboAhUSC-wKHcrNCus4ChDoATAGegQICxAB#v=onepage&q=%22mario%20m%C3%BCller%22%20kontrakultur&f=false.
- 7Alternative Help Association on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/HilfsprojekteVorOrt/.
- 8Alternative Help Association, https://aha-europe.com/.
- 9 a b Matthias Matussek, "Grenzschutz und Aufbauhilfe," Deutschland-Kurier, November 20, 2018, https://www.deutschland-kurier.org/grenzschutz-und-aufbauhilfe/.
- 10 a b "Ein Identitäres Haus für die Kontrakultur Halle: Kubitscheks Traum vom Nazikiez," Sachsen-Anhalt Rechtsaußen, June 18, 2017, https://lsa-rechtsaussen.net/ein-identitaeres-haus-fuer-die-kontrakultur-halle/.
- 11Maximilian Müller, "Rechtsextremer zu Bewährung verurteilt," Nordwest Zeitung, March 1, 2013, https://www.nwzonline.de/delmenhorst/rechtsextremer-zu-bewaehrung-verurteilt_a_2,0,2231775045.html.
- 12Maya Oppenheim, “Defend Europe: Far-right ship stopping refugees ends its mission after a series of setbacks,” The Independent, August 21, 2017, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/defend-europe-far-right-ship-stop-refugees-mediterranean-end-mission-c-star-setbacks-migrant-boats-a7904466.html.
- 13Henriette Quade (DIE LINKE), "Angriff auf Polizeibeamte durch 'Identitäre' in Halle," Kleine Anfrage - KA 7/2482, Landtag Sachsen-Anhalt, May 3, 2019, https://t.co/XrNw80KntL?amp=1.
- 14ΘΡΑΣΟΣ ΑΒΡΑΑΜ, “Έφτασαν και… οι Γερμανοί νεοΝαζί,” stonisi.gr, March 6, 2020, https://www.stonisi.gr/post/7411/eftasan-kai-oi-germanoi-neonazi-pics.
- 15“Impressum,” Die Tagesstimme, https://www.tagesstimme.com/impressum-offenlegung/.
- 16“Mit dem Totschläger fürs Abendland: Chronologie der militanten Angriffe und Aktivitäten der neofaschistischen ‘Identitären’ am 16. und 17.1.2016 in Graz,” Antifaschistische Recherche Graz, February 23, 2016, https://recherchegraz.noblogs.org/post/2016/02/23/identitare-konferenz-und-demonstration-in-graz/.
- 17Autonome Antifa [w] on Twitter, April 4, 2019, https://twitter.com/antifa_w/status/1113765506878791686.
- 18Twitter post by Rechercheplattform zur Identitären Bewegung, August 31, 2020, https://twitter.com/IbDoku/status/1300479139535872004.