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
In February 2018, Nerling took part in a right-wing extremist demonstration commemorating the allied bombing of Dresden, Germany. He appeared together with the British holocaust denier Michèle Renouf, who held a seditious impromptu speech in which she stated that "the only Holocaust perpetrated in Europe was against German civilians."2 Since Holocaust denial is forbidden in Germany and can result in up to 5 years imprisonment, Renouf was charged with “incitement of the people” (Volkverhetzung). Subsequently, the neo-Nazi celebrity lawyer Wolfram Nahrath took on her legal defense, a former leader of the banned Viking Youth and a functionary of the neo-Nazi NPD party. However, in November 2020, all charges brought against Renouf were suddenly dropped.
Michèle Renouf and Nikolai Nerling at a right-wing extremist demonstration in Dresden, Germany, in February 2018.
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
The video was preceded by a "preliminary talk" between Haverbeck, Nerling and Angela Schaller on March 3, 2018,3 and apparently shot in an office of the far-right NPD party (see flyers on shelf). Angela Schaller seems to be a Reichsbürger type neo-Nazi prepper affiliated with the NPD in Thuringia and belonging to a group called Thing Kreis ("Thing Circle").4
In June 2018, Nerling conducted a brief interview with the federal spokesman of the far-right AfD party, Tino Chrupalla. Domestic intelligence cited the interview as a reason which justified the classification of the AfD as a "test case," i.e. the legal base for surveilling the party.5
In August 2018, Nerling participated in 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."6 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 ...
Events at the far-right association Gedächtnisstätte in 2018.
In December 2019, the Dachau District Court sentenced Nerling to a fine of 10,800 euros for incitement and trespassing, because of an incident in February 2019, when Nerling had denied the Holocaust in front of schoolchildren at the Dachau concentration camp memorial, and had filmed them without permission.9 Nerling appealed the sentence, and the appeal hearings were scheduled for November 2020.
In February 2020, the Frankfurt am Main Regional Court issued two temporary restraining orders against Nerling after he published videos in January 2020 in which he read out anti-Semitic statements as alleged quotes from Immanuel Kant, Richard Wagner and Benjamin Franklin. In March 2020, the Berlin Public Prosecutor's Office brought charges against Nerling for, among other things, "trivializing Nazi atrocities, denying the Shoah, showing the Hitler salute, insult and physical abuse."10
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.11
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.12 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.14
On November 27, 2020, in the appeal hearing regarding the 2019 holocaust denial incident in Dachau, the Munich Regional Court sentenced Nerling to a fine of 6000 euros. The trespassing charge was dropped.15
- 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"Michele Renouf investigated over Holocaust remarks at neo-Nazi rally in Germany," The Sydney Morning Herald, February 19, 2018, https://www.smh.com.au/world/michele-renouf-investigated-over-holocaust-remarks-at-neonazi-rally-in-germany-20180219-h0w9yk.html.
- 3"Einleitendes Vorgespräch mit Ursula Haverbeck," GoldenAUroraniS on YouTube, March 7, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7-Ge0Aiogg&feature=emb_title.
- 4Angela Schaller's channel on BitChute, https://www.bitchute.com/channel/J4iuwpFWMTfR/.
- 5"Prüffall: Wir veröffentlichen das Verfassungsschutz-Gutachten zur AfD," Netzpolitik.org, January 28, 2019, https://netzpolitik.org/2019/wir-veroeffentlichen-das-verfassungsschutz-gutachten-zur-afd/.
- 6Melissa 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.
- 7Verein Gedächtnisstätte, https://deutsches-gedenken.de/.
- 8@Gegen_die_Afd on Twitter, January 16, 2021, https://twitter.com/Gegen_die_AfD/status/1350549584683143173.
- 9Thomas Radlmaier, "'Volkslehrer' wegen Volksverhetzung verurteilt," Süddeutsche Zeitung, December 9, 2019, https://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/dachau/dachau-amtsgericht-volkslehrer-volksverhetzung-urteil-1.4717075.
- 10Helena Piontek, "'Volkslehrer' aus Berlin: Staatsanwaltschaft erhebt Anklage gegen rechtsextremen Youtuber," Der Tagesspiegel, March 14, 2020, https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/volkslehrer-aus-berlin-staatsanwaltschaft-erhebt-anklage-gegen-rechtsextremen-youtuber/25643134.html.
- 11"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.
- 12Twitter post by @_Lycurgus, August 31, 2020, https://twitter.com/_Lycurgus/status/1300216423646662660.
- 13Twitter post by @DIEWELLE7, August 29, 2020, https://twitter.com/DIEWELLE7/status/1299776953604599808.
- 14Felix 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.
- 15Thomas Radlmaier, "Rechtsextremer 'Volkslehrer' zu Geldstrafe verurteilt," Süddeutsche Zeitung, November 29, 2020, https://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/dachau/muenchen-dachau-prozess-volkslehrer-nerling-urteil-1.5131712.