The Austrian right-wing extremist and Holocaust-denier Gottfried Küssel.
Martin Sellner is the best-known face in the Austrian Identitarian Movement (IM). Already as a teenager Sellner was involved in the Austrian neo-Nazi scene, and became the protégé of one of the country’s most radical and dangerous right-wing extremists, the Holocaust-denier Gottfried Küssel,1 who spent most of his adult life in prison for Nazi revivalism.
Sellner is a full-time far-right activist, who besides running the Austrian IM branch, writes books, runs an extremist web shop2 and a YouTube channel,3 and travels the world to speak on far-right events, sometimes along likeminded white supremacists, such as Jared Taylor, Kevin MacDonald, or Greg Johnson. Sellner is active in the right-wing fraternity scene, and extremely well networked with prominent far-right politicians and figures in Austria and Germany.
Sellner is closely collaborating with the German New Right activist, writer and publisher Götz Kubitschek. From his country estate in Schnellroda in Saxony-Anhalt, where he lives with his wife Ellen Kositza and their seven children, he manages his various projects, such as the “Institute for State Policy” (Institut für Staatspolitik, IfS), considered the most important New Right think tank in the German-speaking world.4 Sellner has lived in Kubitschek’s country estate for several weeks, has been writing for his magazine Sezession since 2015,5 and published two books with Kubitschek’s Antaios publishing house: Gelassen in den Widerstand and Identitär.
Martin Sellner has been staunchly supporting the far-right FPÖ party on social media. How bluntly these pledges are at times, shows a Tweet after the infamous video leak of former vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, and short before the European parliamentary elections 2019: "Take revenge, vote for Strache" (Nehmt Rache:
Sellner is married to the American Brittany Sellner (née Pettibone), and both are veritable celebrities in the far-right scene. Brittany Sellner, while living with her husband in Vienna, maintains excellent connections to the American Alt-right, and runs her own YouTube channel, on which she mainly represents anti-feminist positions.
According to research by the German public broadcaster SWR2,7 Sellner had “VIP” status in the Discord group "Reconquista Germanica," a several thousand strong far-right "troll army" that emerged in the run-up of the 2017 German federal elections. Sellner said in an interview in this regard: "I think these are actually normal maneuvers in the information war. Hating, and trolls are simply part of the turf. If you cannot deal with that you should not enter that turf."
Logo of Reconquista Germanica with reference to the Discord group.
In November 2014 Martin Sellner and Alexander Markovics were introducing the Identitarian Movement Austria in a detailed interview by German far-right magazine Zuerst!, edited by Manuel Ochsenreiter.8
In October 2015, Sellner attended a conference, organized by Jürgen Elsässer's far-right Compact magazine. There he was interviewed by the Russian far-right networker Yuri Kofner.
On February 6, 2016, Sellner spoke at a PEGIDA ("Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident") rally in Dresden, Germany.9
He again held a speech in Dresden on October 16, 2016, which was published by one of Götz Kubitschek's YouTube channels.10
In April 2017, Sellner had met Markus Frohnmaier, back then head of the youth organization of the far-right Alternative for Germany party (Junge Alternative), who today is an MP in the Bundestag.11
In October 2017, Sellner was visiting the German Identitarian club house Kontrakultur Halle, and published a vlog about his visit.12
After the mass shooting of 51 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019, it transpired that the shooter, Brenton Tarrant, had been in contact with Sellner. Sellner's phone history showed that he had proposed to have a coffee with Tarrant in case he was in the area.13 Tarrant had also donated €1500 to the Identitarian Movement.14 According to the Tagesspiegel14 :
The ideological overlaps between the Christchurch assassin and the Identitarians are obvious. Again and again the Identitarians speak of the "great exchange." The movement claims that European natives are more or less systematically exchanged by immigrants. Also the Christchurch assassin, who killed 50 Muslims in his cruel act, called his manifesto "The Great Replacement." He could have come across the Identitarians on the internet. Whether he and Sellner knew each other personally is unclear. Several media reported that the assassin had traveled through Austria a few months ago and had also posted photos from there. But Sellner says he didn't meet him.
In March 2020, Sellner, together with a group of Identitarians including his American wife, Alt-right poster girl Brittany Sellner (formerly Pettibone), traveled to the Turkish-Greek border to stage an anti-immigrant media stunt. They were accompanied by three other Austrian IM members from the Styria region: Harald Wiedner, Clemens Lorber and Erik Freischütz.
Group of Identitarians at the Greek-Turkish border in early March 2020.
In August 2020, Sellner took part in a mass demonstration of Corona deniers, 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. Already a day ahead of the main demonstration, on August 28, 2020, he appeared right next to the editor of the far-right Compact magazine, Jürgen Elsässer.
Identitarian figurehead Martin Sellner (blue t-shirt) and publisher of the far-right Compact magazine (white hair) arriving in Berlin one day before the large Corona Denier demonstration.
On August 29, 2020, the day of the main demonstration, Sellner coordinated the spreading of a giant three-part banner, sporting the PEGIDA slogan "We are the people" (Wir sind das Volk).15
Identitarians unrolled a banner with the PEGIDA slogan "We are the people" at the August 29, 2020, Querdenken demonstration.
In September 2020, the German far-right initiative Ein Prozent (Götz Kubitschek, Jürgen Elsässer etc.) announced that it will soon publish the "first patriotic computer game," called "Rebellion - Heimat [Homeland] Defender," featuring Sellner as one of the characters16 :
In the game, the playable characters Alex Malenki, Martin Sellner, Outdoor Illner and the dark knight must navigate a dystopian vision of the future in which the Globohomo Corporation controls public life and even the minds of citizens.
For more than a year, the patriotic game designer Kvltgames developed the program exclusively for "One Percent," which you can download for free on the website www.heimat-defender.de for Windows and Mac starting September 15th. We are also working on a release of the game via the Steam platform to reach even more young people.
Ein Prozent advertising "Rebellion - Heimat Defender," the first "patriotic computer game."
- 1Simon Cox and Anna Meisel, “Martin Sellner: The new face of the far right in Europe,” BBC, September 20, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-45572411.
- 2Phalanx Europa, https://phalanx-europa.com/.
- 3Martin Sellner live on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ8uFo1RKSgEg-od3Yu10Pw.
- 4Helmut Kellershohn, “‘Es geht um Einfluss auf die Köpfe’ – Das Institut für Staatspolitik,” Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, July 7, 2016, https://www.bpb.de/politik/extremismus/rechtsextremismus/230002/es-geht-um-einfluss-auf-die-koepfe-das-institut-fuer-staatspolitik.
- 5 Christine Eckes, “Ausbreitung der ‘Identitären Bewegung’ in Europa und ihre ideologischen Grundzüge,” EXIT-Deutschland, Volume 4, 2016, 110ff.
- 6Twitter post by Martin Sellner, May 25, 2019, https://twitter.com/dolceguevara/status/1132369413057974272.
- 7"Wie Rechtsextreme Hass im Netz organisieren," SWR2, April 26, 2018, https://www.swr.de/swr2/leben-und-gesellschaft/article-swr-11346.html.
- 8Julian Bruns, Kathrin Glösel, Natascha Strobl et al., Die Identitären: Handbuch zur Jugendbewegung der Neuen Rechten in Europa, 2017, p. 187.
- 9"Martin Sellner, Identitäre Bewegung, 6.2.16, Dresden," Radix on YouTube, February 8, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgHgLKPcs-k.
- 10"'System der Lüge' – Martin Sellner zu zwei Jahren PEGIDA," kanal schnellroda on YouTube, October 18, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0GRxJ9rcuM.
- 11Maria Fiedler, “Frohnmaier trifft Sellner: Wie die AfD-Jugend mit den Identitären kungelt,” Der Tagesspiegel, April 22, 2017, https://www.tagesspiegel.de/themen/reportage/frohnmaier-trifft-sellner-wie-die-afd-jugend-mit-den-identitaeren-kungelt/19702108.html.
- 12"Kontra Kultur Halle - Die Hausbewohner und Aktivisten," Martin Sellner on YouTube, October 31, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3GTkDceMw0.
- 13Ralf Leonhard, "Spende des Christchurch-Attentäters: Zwei kleine Braune in Wien," taz, May 15, 2019, https://taz.de/Spende-des-Christchurch-Attentaeters/!5595858/.
- 14 a b Maria Fiedler, "Hausdurchsuchung bei Martin Sellner: Identitären-Chef bekam offenbar Geld von Christchurch-Attentäter," Der Tagesspiegel, 26 March 2019, https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/hausdurchsuchung-bei-martin-sellner-identitaeren-chef-bekam-offenbar-geld-von-christchurch-attentaeter/24145238.html.
- 15Twitter post by Rechercheplattform zur Identitären Bewegung, August 31, 2020, https://twitter.com/IbDoku/status/1300477942884114432.
- 16"Das erste patriotische Computerspiel ist da!," Ein Prozent, September 3, 2020, https://www.einprozent.de/blog/gegenkultur/das-erste-patriotische-computerspiel-ist-da/2694.