Nikolai Nerling, the self-designated "People's Teacher" (Der Volkslehrer) is a völkisch and antisemitic video blogger. The trained elementary school teacher Nerling has been convicted of holocaust denial and incitement two times.1 He lost his job after he had denied the holocaust at the concentration camp in Dachau, near Munich.1
Nerling sympathizes openly with Ursula Haverbeck,1 aka the "Nazi granny," convicted multiple times for Holocaust denial. In March 2018, he led an interview with her, introducing her as "the grande dame of the freedom movement."1
Nikolai Nerling with Ursula Haverbeck
In August 2018, Nerling was among the infamous neo-Nazi demonstration in Chemnitz, with various violent episodes. After the killing of a 35-year-old German man by two foreigners, nationalists and far-right soccer fans called on their supporters "to take to the streets to 'defend' their country from immigrants."2 During the demonstration, Nerling was interviewed, and stated1:
I think this movement has the potential for a civil war. It could be the starting point for a really bloody conflict ... and if that should be the case I could also imagine that this is part of a superordinate plan ...
In August 2020, Nerling took part in a mass demonstration of Corona deniers (Querdenken), 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.
Nerling had appeared already one day before the main demonstration started, on August 28, 2020, in front of the Reichstag building, housing the German parliament. As can be seen on the picture below, he gave a völkisch dance interlude there in traditional garb, wearing Thor's hammer around his neck, a symbol popular among Germanic neopaganist neo-Nazis.3
Antisemitic People's Teacher Nikolai Nerling with Thor's hammer around the neck.
Michael Ballweg also questions things: I once met him, we had a nice BBQ together, and I promised him that I would talk to absolutely no one about this. Whatever. What should you care about my yesterday's prattle. At any rate, Michael had asked me a whole lot of questions. Also about Germany's history he had asked questions. ... We really have to thank Michael for the six million people that are right now on the streets here in Berlin. They have come here because there is Querdenken.
Six million being of course an allusion to the six million victims of the holocaust that he denies. Also during the actual Querdenken demonstration, Nerling can be seen together with the QAnon-affine Michael Ballweg.4 Ballweg keeps on denying to have anything to do with the far right.
Michael Ballweg with Nikolai Nerling in the course of the August 2020 Corona demonstration.
Black-White flags are being waved, the crowd shouting "We are the People." All lives matter, also German lives matter. These are some really interesting scenes here.
Nikolai Nerling during the "storm" on the Reichstag in the course of the Querdenken demonstration
That Nerling had an accreditation to film on the main stage of the Querdenken demonstration can be seen on a picture from the final Querdenken event later in the evening of August 29, 2020, after the "storm on the Reichstag" had been dispersed. Interestingly, once journalists asked Markus Haintz, Querdenken's lawyer and part of the core team organizing the event, what he thinks about sharing the stage with a holocaust denier, Nerling was kindly asked to leave - not without a certain degree of indignation on Nerling's side. He asked Haintz why he cannot film while another (far-right) video blogger, Matthäus Westfal (aka "Aktivist Mann"), was still allowed on the stage.1
The holocaust denier Nikolai Nerling on the main Querdenken stage, together with key organizers of the Corona denier mass demonstration in Berlin on August 29, 2020, including Stephan Bergmann (right).
In early September 2020, Nerling was kicked out of a Berlin beach club when he agitated against Turks and Jews. Subsequently the operators of the establishment were target of a far-right shit storm.6
- 1. a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. "'Querdenken' mit Nazis: Wirrköpfe unter sich," Der Spiegel on YouTube, September 7, 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMC_yOgCPIo.
- 2. Melissa Eddy, "German Far Right and Counterprotesters Clash in Chemnitz," New York Times, August 28, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/28/world/europe/chemnitz-protest-germany.html.
- 3. "Hygienedemos in Berlin: So ein Volk," Panorama, Der Spiegel, September 1, 2020, https://www.spiegel.de/panorama/spiegel-tv-ueber-hygiene-demos-in-berlin-was-fuer-ein-volk-a-e1c7c825-4deb-4982-8c25-67eb920812b0.
- 4. Twitter post by @_Lycurgus, August 31, 2020, https://twitter.com/_Lycurgus/status/1300216423646662660.
- 5. Twitter post by @DIEWELLE7, August 29, 2020, https://twitter.com/DIEWELLE7/status/1299776953604599808.
- 6. Felix Hackenbruch, "Rechter Videoblogger in Berlin-Wedding Strandbad Plötzensee bekommt Shitstorm nach Rauswurf des 'Volkslehrers,'" Der Tagesspiegel, September 4, 2020, https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/rechter-videoblogger-in-berlin-wedding-strandbad-ploetzensee-bekommt-shitstorm-nach-rauswurf-des-volkslehrers/26158924.html.