Antisemitism and the Extreme Right in Spain (1962–1997)
L. Rodríguez Jiménez
ACTA NO. 15
Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism, 1999
This article surveys the origins of political antisemitism in Spain. Hostility toward Jews was particularly virulent during the Middle Ages, and reached its high point with the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. Afterwards, it affected Jews who had converted to Christianity, and took on a racist content with the “purity of blood” statutes. Yet it was even then a prejudice with no relation to an actual Jewish community in Spain. In the twentieth century, the Spanish version of the “conspiracy theory” was inherited from the nationalist Catholic tradition, based on the conception of an imaginary “internal enemy” plotting the downfall of the Catholic religion and the traditional social order. The opponent is not a political organization, but rather some strange entity, which, by means of “revolutionary war” and “subversive agitation” attempts to destroy the government and the nation. From the end of the nineteenth century, Jews, along with freemasons, have been perceived as the conspirators. Alongside this is the notion of a universal Jewish conspiracy to control the world. Following the success of the Soviet revolution and the founding of the Spanish Communist Party, such “anti-Spanish forces” were primarily identified with the “corrosive communist virus,” often considered to be guided by the Jews.
most part, political antisemitism has not been a central issue for the
Spanish extreme Right, and it had only minor importance in Spanish fascism.
However, the alliance between Franco’s faction and Nazi Germany during
the Spanish Civil War opened the way for the emergence of racist antisemitism
in the Spanish Right. It was during the 1960s that the first Spanish neo-fascist
and neo-Nazi groups appeared, the principal one being CEDADE. Later on,
the Spanish neo-Nazis attempted to use antisemitic discourse to explain
the political transition to democracy (1976–1982) following the death of
General Franco. It drew on the same ideas that
had been expressed in 1931 when the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed — that political turning points could be explained as the result of various “intrigues.”
thus focuses on the transition to democracy, the use of the “conspiracy
theory”; antisemitic discourse; the cultural infiltration of neo-Nazism
through various publications; the relationship between neo-Nazis and the
“New Right”; the “affair Friedman”; and the Friends of Léon Degrelle
The Origins of Political Antisemitism in Spain
The Spanish extreme Right, like other examples of political extremism, makes use of a “friend vs. foe” terminology, and “legitimizes” aggression against its opponents. It, too, refers to a supposed world-wide conspiracy to explain why things go badly, and justifies their proposals for establishing a dictatorship. Just as nationalism draws on suitable historic heroes, the extreme Right invents its own enemies.
was particularly virulent in Spain during the
Middle Ages, reaching its high point with the Edict of Expulsion of the Jews in 1492 (“freedom of worship” was introduced only in the new constitution of 1969). Persecution of Jews who had converted to Christianity followed the Expulsion, with a racist element evident in the “purity of blood” statutes. In fact, this era represented a kind of antisemitism without Jews; indeed there was little antisemitism to be found in Spain from the beginning of the sixteenth century. Antisemitism in Spain has always included cultural and religious content, claiming that Jews were profiteers, incarnations of the devil, responsible for the death of Christ, and indeed, for every disastrous or controversial situation.
Political antisemitism arose in the twentieth century, and has focused on accusing the Jews of perversion and of plotting to control the world. The Spanish version of the conspiracy theory is a descendant of a national Catholic tradition, that suggests that Jews are “an enemy within” conspiring against the Catholic religion and the traditional order. The opponent is perceived not as a political organization, but as a kind of virus, which by means of “revolutionary war” and “subversive agitation” attempts to depose the government and destroy the nation. From the end of the nineteenth century, and influenced by conservative French Catholicism, the Jews appear alongside the Masons as the proponents of that conspiracy. In the work of J. Vázquez de Mella, one of the main representatives of Spanish Catholic traditionalism, masonry is directed by Judaism as the “great engine of the revolutions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.” Following the success of the Soviet revolution and the founding of the Spanish Communist Party, the “anti-Spanish forces” are identified principally as the “corrosive communism virus” (thought to be mysteriously guided by the Jews). Indeed, both communism and masonry are considered a tool or mask of Judaism, which aims to control the world.1
For the most part, political antisemitism has not been a central issue for the Spanish extreme Right. At certain times it has been used for the purpose of political agitation, as well as to “explain” political turning points as resulting from an intrigue — such as the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931, or the transition to democracy in 1976. Among those who express antisemitic opinions, one only rarely finds the mixture of nationalism and racist-biological pseudo-science that was characteristic of Nazi antisemitism. Among the exceptions is F. García Blázquez, who states that “German racism” can serve as an example to Spain, adding that there is even justification for “measures designed to purify the race.”2
Antisemitic views are espoused by several members of the Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista-JONS (Juntas of the National Trade Union Offensive). This group merged in 1934 with the Falange Española — the most important representative of Spanish fascism — in order to set up the Falange Española de las JONS (FE-JONS). One of its leaders, Onésimo Redondo, the manager of the weekly Libertad, wrote some articles that made reference to “Jewish money,” and the Jewish-Freemason-Marxist alliance, as well as translating the Protocols of the Elders of Zion between February and July 1932.
The alliance between Spain and Nazi Germany during the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939 contributed to the emergence of racist antisemitism that went beyond the traditional cultural or religious antisemitism. Today, antisemitism has an ideological function, and is closely connected with ultra-conservative Catholicism and anti-liberal factions.3
The First Spanish Neo-fascists and Neo-Nazis
The extreme Right had an important role in the coalition of monarchists, extreme Right, authoritarian Right, and fascists that brought General Francisco Franco to power at the time of the Civil War.
But the victory of the Allies in World War II proved a turning point in the evolution of Spanish politics. The Franco regime was forced to put aside its totalitarian impulses in the early 1940s in order to present a better image to Europe and the United States. From this time, the one-party Spanish Traditionalist Falange of the Juntas of the Nationalist Trade Union Offensive lost influence, leading the authoritarian Catholic Right and monarchists linked with Franco to take advantage of the situation.4
The Falangists (or Fascists) were unable to put a halt to the gradual elimination of the regime’s fascist characteristics. They were able to preserve a limited sphere of influence until the 1960s, primarily through their presence in governmental ministries, the civil service, the trade unions, and the party’s own youth wing (Frente de Juventudes), rather than their presence in the upper echelons of the Party itself. A number of factors contributed to the foundation of new organizations and tendencies in the extreme Right, including the ineffectiveness of the Fascist Party, the evolution of the regime’s political philosophy — then inclined to opt for a neo-conservative technocracy over the Falangist approach — and the restructuring of the opposition within the country and abroad.
In the 1960s, however, they began to develop new themes and strategies for increasing party membership. Some cadres of FET-JONS welcomed the invitation for a Spanish delegation to Jeune Europe, an international neo-fascist organization founded in Brussels in 1962 by Jean Thiriart and G. A. Amaudrutz. The Spanish delegation became active in October 1962, but failed to gain many converts.
Nevertheless, in the following years, a number of small groups were formed which declared themselves to be neo-Nazis or at least in sympathy with European neo-Nazi or neo-fascist organizations. Virtually all these groups originated in Barcelona, the home of a group of radical Falangists, some of whom had been members of Franco’s División Azul (Blue Division) that had fought alongside the Nazis in the Soviet Union during the Second World War. A number of publishing houses were set up to promote its ideology. Among them was Editorial Caralt, owned by the Barcelona town councillor Luis de Caralt, and Ediciones Acervo, belonging to the Falangist José A. Llorens Borrás. Llorens began publishing Juanpérez. World Information Journal in February 1964, edited by Narciso Perales. The magazine took a similar traditional stance to Ediciones Acervo: anti-communism, vindication of Nazi and fascist ideology, antisemitism, and denial of the Holocaust. It gave considerable attention to the “funerals” of Hitler and Mussolini organized by neo-fascist circles in Barcelona and Madrid.
One must take into account the influence on Spanish groups by European neo-Nazi organizations. In addition, a number of Nazi party members or collaborators took refuge in Spain at the end of the Second World War. Among the better-known were the Croatian Ante Pavelic, the Romanian Horia Sima, the Austrian Otto Skorzeny, and the Belgian Léon Degrelle. Some of these refugees maintained a constant level of political activity, helping to keep the international neo-Nazi network alive, and encouraging Spanish extreme Right agitation and propaganda.5 Degrelle was a leader of Christus Rex, a Belgian fascist organization, and founder of the Valona Legion that fought alongside German troops on the Eastern Front. In 1944 he joined the Waffen-SS. Sentenced to death in 1944, he managed to escape to Spain, where he was naturalized in 1954, taking the name León José de Ramírez Reina.6 Until his death in 1994, he was very active in encouraging a resurrection of Nazism.
The mid-1960s saw the emergence of what became the most influential and active of the European neo-Nazi organizations. A small group of fascist admirers of Hitler and the Third Reich, and unrelated to the “old guard” of FET-JONS, organized themselves in Barcelona in 1966, and began to operate as an association the following year, calling itself the Círculo Español de Amigos de Europa (Spanish Circle of Friends of Europe — CEDADE).7 Traditionally, the Italian model of fascism had been more influential in Spain, but during the 1960s, when the fascist parties were in decline, they began model themselves after the new German neo-Nazi parties.
CEDADE was headed initially by Ángel Ricote, replaced some months later by Pedro Aparicio. In its first phase (1966–1970), it linked itself to fascist ideology, but gradually took neo-Nazi and racist positions against Jews, Blacks, and Gypsies, as well as the physically handicapped. It placed a value on antisemitism not found in other Spanish extreme Right organizations; eventually, these other groups took on an increasingly antisemitic characteristic.
The group soon adopted a very methodological and serious attempt to gain members and influence, in contrast to the “veteran” Falangist circles with poor ideological training. CEDADE’s publications, in common with other extreme Right groups, exalted the ideas of “sacrifice” and “rigorous morality.” At the same time, their magazines and pamphlets alluded to the artistic sense, paid tribute to nature, and demanded an iron discipline: no smoking, no drinking of alcohol, and no disco-dancing. Rank-and-file members organized mountain-climbing and camping activities, as well as military and physical training. They also attended masses celebrated in Barcelona and Madrid for the repose of Hitler and Mussolini, and regularly distributed propaganda in favor of German reunification, and took part in campaigns for the liberation of Rudolph Hess, the last of the Nazi leaders imprisoned in Spandau. In Barcelona in 1969, CEDADE hosted the tenth congress of Nouvel Ordre Européen (New European order), an alliance of international neo-fascist groups created in 1951. Approximately sixty delegates attended from seven countries. Subsequently, CEDADE participated in meetings called by neo-Nazi organizations throughout Europe. Beginning in 1970, it also had a few representatives outside of Barcelona or abroad. However, it’s “Europeanism” and marked pro-Nazi stance raised suspicions within the Franco regime, which sometimes actively hindered the group’s propaganda activities.
This did not prevent CEDADE from receiving help in Spain. Officials from the Servicio Central de Documentación (CESED) — one of the Spanish government’s secret services in Barcelona offered educational workshops to CEDADE members. The active and orderly work of the members, and their desire to create an “élite group” (the so-called SD group), prompted some well-known extreme right-wing military figures and a small number of old-time Falangists to offer a certain degree of support. It was believed that CEDADE might be turned into an embryonic movement, which, given the right circumstances — General Franco having a bout of ill-health perhaps — could set up a military government.8 At the time, all that was achieved was contact with a few distinguished and aged members of the military, and a great many German, Romanian, and Croatian exiles, along with some financial support from various state-controlled organizations of the Falangist party.
Jorge Mota was elected president of CEDADE in February 1970, thus strengthening the organization’s Nazi orientation. CEDADE was quick to seek out its ideological counterparts abroad, and related less to José Antonio Primo de Rivera (Spain’s most prominent fascist leader of the 1930s) than to Adolf Hitler, Léon Degrelle, and Corneliu Codreanu. There were strong reminders of the ideology of Jean Thiriart, the philosopher Julius Evola, Gobineau’s biological racism, Nazi theorists such as Alfred Rosenberg, as well as the works of Richard Wagner and the poet Dietrich Eckart.
The period 1970–1974 was one of consolidation for CEDADE. In 1970, circles of militants could be found in Barcelona, Badalona, Madrid, Alicante, Málaga, Murcia, Zaragoza, Sevilla, and Valladolid. Membership increased to 500–600, and thanks to some financial help and the personal efforts of members, CEDADE was able to staff offices in various towns and improved the publication of its bulletins. Some financial assistance used to support their publications came from Arab political groups. The first of these grants was received between 1967 and 1968 when Haj Amin al-Husseini donated over two million pesetas that was used for this purpose.9 As a gesture of thanks, CEDADE organized a gathering in al-Husseini’s honor in Madrid on 22 December 1974.10 The new press continued to print CEDADE’s news bulletin as well as several anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish books in Arabic in 1975. The organization also received some financial assistance from the embassy of Formosa (Taiwan).
The activities of CEDADE members served as an inspiration for starting other neo-Nazi groups, particularly in Barcelona in Catalonia. The Partido Español Nacional Socialista (Spanish National Socialist Movement — PENS) was active from 1969–1973. It published two bulletins, Nuevo Orden (New order) and Joven Europa (Young Europe), and organized the “Asociación Juvenil Jaime I” for youth. However, it had only thirty members and lacked a stable structure. The PENS had regular contacts with similar groups in Madrid — the Movimento Nacional Revolucionario (National Revolutionary Movement — MNR); and in Valencia — the Movimento Social Español (Spanish Socialist Movemen— MSE). There werrank-and-file contacts with CEDADE, and these led to the formation of the Círculo España/Occidente (Spain/West Circle). Of note is connection of PENS with the Italian neo-fascist terrorist Stefano della Chiae, who took refuge in Spain and gave short courses to members of the group. The three groups, PENS, MNR, and MSE, were not merely tolerated by some elements within the Spanish information services, but received financial and logistical assistance. The groups made their presence felt in the universities and in Spain’s major cities. Right-wing militants became increasingly involved in paramilitary activities aimed at paralyzing any initiatives from lawyers, journalists, and trade unions in the Spanish opposition. There were attacks against publishing houses and bookshops offering works written in Catalan or Basque, those by Marxist authors, or anyone known to oppose the Franco regime.
The Political Transition to Democracy and the Conspiracy Theory
The growing strength of organizations on the Left and other forces opposed to Franco, along with the evolution of some politicians toward reform brought a reaction from the extreme Right. This mobilization was directed by neo-Francoist organizations founded during the 1960s (Fuerza Nueva and the various brotherhoods of Francoist ex-combatants) with a small contingent of neo-fascist groups that had split from the single Party.
Fuerza Nueva (New Force), founded in 1966, intended to confront the political demobilization favored by the Franco regime, and to block the evolution of reformist politicians. It accused reformers of treason against the Franco ideology.
It is not surprising that Blas Piñar, the president of Fuerza Nueva made many references to a “subversive war.” Two conferences at the beginning of the 1970s led to the publication of the book What is Communism? by their press, Fuerza Nueva Editorial. In this and other writings, Blas argued that communism is an “iceberg” and a “conspiracy” which provokes class war in order to destroy nations. Inspired by Catholic fanatics, he claims that it has a “satanic” origin and has been aided by Lucifer in extending its dominion, adding that communism was “designed by the Khazar-Jewish race.”11
Franco died in 1975, and his chosen successor, Juan Carlos de Borbón, was crowned king. A difficult but peaceful evolution from authoritarian rule to democracy took place. The extreme Right perceived the threat to their power and social influence and in this critical period ascribed their defeat to a “conspiracy” from abroad. When voters failed to choose their candidates, it was said to be the result of the “drugging” or “anesthetizing” of Spanish society through “Jewish-Masonic-Communist” propaganda. Whereas members of CEDADE demonstrated little interest in the Spanish political situation, the neo-Francoist organizations stated that the legalization of the Communist Party in 1977 would lead to the deterioration of traditional values and the social order. They argued that from the time that Communism was legalized, Judaism — reinforced by the legalization of Freemasonry as well — could now operate without restraint to destroy the work of Franco. Of course, the Francoists and neo-Falangists wished to thwart this supposed possibility. In the extreme Right parties and publications, a campaign was initiated that drew on the antisemitic discourse of nationalist Catholicism. Incredible as it may seem, the neo-Francoists were convinced that the Spanish transition to democracy had been foreseen in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Examples of this thinking can be found in the Manual de urgencia sobre el sionismo en España (Urgent manual on Zionism in Spain, 1979) by César Casanova:
What happened in Spain, for a number of years, is part of the pact between the ambitious people and the Zionists or their executive arm: a dictatorship of the liberal-masonic-capitalists or a marxist dictatorship. Everything that happens in Spain is being programmed by international Zionism. How prophetic of the current situation in Spain are the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.12
How can it be that references to the “dark hand” of Communism or Judaism (not to mention the notion that Paris, Amsterdam, New York, or Moscow are centers for the “international conspiracy”) persist in the discourse of the extreme Right when explaining certain events? In a country in which the number of actual Jews is very small, this is clearly irrational.13
We must remember that blaming a Jewish-Masonic-Communist alliance for the ills of Spain and the world relieves some of the sense of culpability from those who sympathized with fascism, and among ultra-conservative Catholics. This is particularly true in a country that was under a dictatorship for forty years, and was allied with the Axis powers. Antisemitic discourse and ideology among ultra-conservative Catholics have not altered at all; organizations such as Fuerza Nueva and the Spanish Catholic movement continue to resort to cultural and religious antisemitism. In addition, the neo-Nazi parties discredit the Jews with an assault on truth and memory, by attempting to persuade the public that the Holocaust is a hoax fabricated by Jews.
As we have seen above, the principle concerns of CEDADE are racism, antisemitism, and promoting neo-Nazi economics and political activity; specifically Spanish issues are only of indirect interest. Pedro Varela, CEDADE’s president elected in 1978, said that the organization specialized in the “publication of an internal journal distributed throughout the world, promoting journals in different languages, supporting publishing houses linked to our ideology, distributing our books, and promoting films.” He added, “We are not worried about this country. If the white race is disappearing as a world problem, we cannot only say that it’s necessary to put things right in Spain.” 14 Varela and a significant segment of CEDADE were more interested in Hitler’s life and the army of the Third Reich and the Waffen-SS than in aspects of Spanish history, except those closely connected with Nazi Germany, like the Blue Division.
In the mid-1970s, CEDADE was represented in the following Spanish cities and towns: Albacete, Alicante, Barcelona, Cádiz, Cartagena (Murcia), Ciudad Real, La Cuesta (Tenerife), Granada, Jaen, Lugo, Madrid, Mallorca, Mahón (Menorca), Murcia, Oviedo, Pamplona, Salamanca, Santander, Sevilla, Toledo, Valencia, Valladolid, and Zaragoza. In addition, there were representatives in Aix-en-Provence (France), Buenos Aires and Posadas (Argentina), La Paz (Bolivia), and Quito (Ecuador). CEDADE registered as the political party Partido Europeo Nacional Revolucionario (European National Revolutionary Party) in 1979. Varela apparently wished to establish an openly racist neo-Nazi party and move the central office to the Spanish capital, Madrid. This measure was approved within the party at the beginning of the 1980s, but nothing came of it.
CEDADE publications, which are aggressively anti-Israel, focus on the Jewish conspiracy to control the world and undermine European society through pornography, drugs, democracy, and communism. In order to solve the “Jewish problem,” Jews must be “shut off from white people,” with those responsible for endangering society to be punished without mercy. The neo-Nazi propagandists say that the activities of the Jews “make completely understandable, if not justifiable, the furious reaction against them.” Israel, in their view, must completely disappear.15 They also proposed eliminating any elements that “make an indecent assault on racial health” and the “sterilization” of all physically or “spiritually” handicapped people in order to protect the Aryan race. There was no effort to hide the irrational Nazi sources of such thinking; for example, their publications made reference to the need for “living space” (lebensraum — the German excuse for expanding eastwards before the outbreak of the Second World War) — which has no connection to Spanish political issues. The most urgent problem they saw as the invasion of Europe by Africans, “with the helof Zionism.”16
Spanish neo-Nazhave added nothing original to similar neo-Nazi propaganda from Germany, Britain, or Austria. What is significant is that CEDADE profited considerably from the fact that in Spain there were few impediments to the publication of neo-Nazi material. A network of publishing houses (Ediciones CEDADE, Ediciones BAUSP, Ediciones Wotan, and Ediciones Nuevo Arte Thor) enabled foreign authors to put out pamphlets, posters, and leaflets in wide variety, when they were unable to do so in their own countries. However, even as CEDADE became an important publisher for other European neo-Nazi groups, its influence in the Spanish extreme Right decreased.17
The German Verfassungsschutz Annual Report noted that CEDADE was the foremost supporter of German and Austrian neo-Nazi groups. Two Austrian neo-Nazi leaders, Gert Honsik and Walter Ochsenberger, sentenced to jail terms for Holocaust denial, took shelter in Spain, where they were able to publish — with the support of local neo-Nazis — two Germanlanguage journals, Halt and Sieg (Victory). In 1993, Shimon Samuels, the director of the European office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, informed the Spanish authorities of the existence of a center for Nazi propaganda in the province of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This “Casa de Cultura Alemana” (House of German culture) is directed by D. Felderer (a Swedish citizen), with the help of Spanish neo-Nazis.
CEDADE of course continued publishing its own rather luxurious bulletin, with more pages, printed in full color on good-quality paper. Through 1979, it published 800–1000 copies of CEDADE intended for subscribers and comrades in foreign organizations. But from that year, in hopes of increasing membership, print runs were sometimes as many as 10,000 copies, and were sold at newstands. The project was not successful, however, and soon the print run was reduced substantially. From 1989, the bulletin was no longer published monthly, although a German-language edition was produced. In 1990, only two numbers came out, and in 1991–1992, only a single annual edition was printed. By this time, the organization was suffering financially.
Other Neo-Nazi Groups
During the 1970s, a number of very small neo-Nazi groups arose: Juventud Nacional Revolucionaria (National revolutionary youth), Comandos de Acción Adolfo Hitler (Adolf Hitler action commandos), Nueva Guardia de España (New Guard of Spain), Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National liberation army), and Juventudes Vikingas (Viking youth). This latter tiny group was founded in Madrid in the early 1980s by “Captain Walter” Mattheai, a former non-commissioned officer of the Wehrmacht who settled in Spain in the 1950s. The young Vikings sold emblems, pamphlets, and Nazi books, and faced off against members of the extreme Left in the center of Madrid in a series of small incidents.
Another group, Nuevo Acrópolis (New Acropolis), was founded in 1974 and continues to function. It organizes neo-Nazi activity under the guise of conferences on pseudo-philosophical and esoteric subjects.
Two Catalan terrorist groups were also created in this period, the Partit Nacionalsocialista Catalá (Catalan National Socialist Party, 1978–1980, revived in 1984), and the violent Milicia Catalana (Catalan Militia) — a direct-action group specializing in assaulting saunas, brothels, and centers of Catalan nationalism. In spite of their somewhat misleading names, these organizations oppose any kind of autonomy for Catalonia.
Lastly, we must mention the NSDAP/Ausland Organization, whose central office is in Lincoln, Nebraska. It publishes an irregular Spanish-language Boletín de Noticias NS distributed through a post office box in Palma de Mallorca. Their leaflets take jabs at non-Aryans: “¡Ni asiático ni africano es tu hermano! (Neither Asians nor Africans are your brothers!), and “Es muy ‘jodío’ vivir bajo el judío” (It’s a bitch to live under the Jews).
The Neo-fascist Parties
While antisemitic discourse is central for the neo-Nazis, for the neo-Falangists it is peripheral, only appearing when they refer to the World War II period, or the military and political conflict between Israel and the Arab countries. Sometimes a reference to the Second World War comes up with regard to European Jews, but usually only because they are trying to deny legitimacy to the State of Israel. We must take into account the fact that the neo-Falangists never voice support for anti-Jewish racism, even though their semantic differentiates between “Zionism” and the interests of the Jewish people. Their primary interest is internal Spanish politics; they are more concerned to speak out on the terrorist outrages of the Basque separatist organization ETA, the high level of unemployment, the illegal financing of political parties, and illegal immigration.
Even so, one can find a trail of antisemitic remarks. For example, spokesmen of the Movimiento Falangista de España have declared that the history of the Second World War has been falsified, and the winners “are worse off than the losers,”18 there was no genocide of the Jews,19 and they blame “international Judaism” for the German loss of territory after the war, which they claim was intended to provoke a new war and destroy Europe. Comparing leaders such as Rudolf Hess and Winston Churchill, they conclude that the British leader is the “only true war criminal.”20 Their strategy is significant in that the neo-Falangists do not always deny Nazi war crimes altogether, but claim the true number of victims is lower than reported. They usurp the symbols of the Holocaust for their own purposes, and use the term Holocaust to refer to events unconnected to Jews.
Publications of the Falange Española de las JONS (the most important of the neo-Falangist parties re-established in 1976 during the transition to democracy), compares Israel to the Third Reich, and the Israeli army to the Waffen-SS. Israel’s existence as a state resulted from “Holocaust blackmail.”22 Thus, this party does not publicly deny the Holocaust (though individual members may do so), but its antisemitism appears as anti-Israel attitudes; the Palestinian-Israeli conflict provides the excuse for antisemitic discourse. The monthly journal Nosotros (We), for example, calls Israel the fifty-second state of the United States, and refers to the situation of the Palestinians as “slavery.”
The Falange Española Independiente, a very small party, does not deny the Holocaust, but voices antisemitism openly, saying that the Holocaust is a constant topic for “big business and Jewish capitalism,” equates Israel with Nazi Germany, and contends that Israel only continues to exist because of its strength and influence over the world.”22
Antisemitism is found in the publications of the Juntas Españolas as well. This party wanted to pattern Spain on the French National Front of 1985–1990. Their publications focus exclusively on anti-Zionism, using the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as an opportunity to decry “Zionist atrocities” and “genocidal expansionism” against the Palestinians.23 On the subject of World War II, the group takes a stance that denies the Holocaust, and equates political and military actions by both Allies and Nazi Germany: “there never was an order for extermination [of the Jews] or anything like it; all sides committed brutal acts.”24
Anarcho-Nazi: The “Autonomous Bases”
Bases Autónomas (Autonomous Bases) was formed in 1983, and exists only in Madrid. Its directors were the young lawyers Carlos Rodrigo Ruiz de Castro and Fernando Fernández Perdices, and Ignacio Alonso García, a university student. The group sought to contribute to the extreme Right by promoting the involvement of youth in political activity, a new aesthetics, and new programs. However, the renewal of the Right that they proclaimed was limited to publication of magazines promoting violence like La Peste Negra (The black plague) and ¡A Por Ellos! (Get them!). They used neo-fascist symbols familiar in Europe, like the Celtic cross and black rat as the logo for their pamphlets. Bases Autónomas can be described as “anarcho-Nazi” — combining a message of chaos annational socialism. The rank-and-file membersconsists largely of football hooligans (Ultra Sur, Athletic Front) and skinheads. As the most violent extreme Right organization of recent years, it has operated as tiny cells, in order to make it difficult for the police to deal with it. The group planned aggression against university students linked to left-wing associations, and against politicians. One of the group’s main activities was producing propaganda against politicians, and the use of racist and antisemitic slogans often spread as graffiti. Launching a verbal attack upon Jews in one of its ideological texts, the pamphlet states, as one of 18 points: “Since the Jews operate as a foreign community, we ask that they get the appropriate treatment. We say no to recognizing the State of Israel.”25
Police pressure eventually restricted the group’s activities, and it appears to have dissolved, although some neo-Nazi militants continue to use its characteristic symbols. In 1995, a report from the National Citizen Security Council stated that there are approximately 2,300 neo-Nazi skinheads in Spain, 50 percent of whom are in Catalonia, and 30 percent in Madrid. Urban skinhead violence increased between 1991 and 1996, consisting of attacks on immigrants, homosexuals, beggars, and drug addicts. In 1997–1998, indiscriminate aggression by young people has increased.26
Alternativa Europea (European Alternative, AE), headed by Juan Antonio Llopart and centered in Barcelona, was legalized as a political association in February 1994. Its ideology mixes neo-fascism (based on the ideas of Jean Thiriart and Dominique Venner), the “conservative revolution” (based on Carl Schmitt, Ernst Jünger, and Drieu La Rochelle), and the radical Spanish fascism of Ramiro Ledesma), using a “national Bolshevik” rhetoric. That is, their rhetoric conceals its neo-fascist origins by making use of symbols and terminology of the Left. AE is part of the European Liberation Front, a pan-European coordinating committee made up of various “national revolutionary” groups.
AE has a wide publications network. Its most important ideological and cultural journal is Tribuna de Europa (European platform). Edited by Llopart in a modern and pleasing format, it appears twice a month and analyzes current events and the ups and downs of various “national revolutionary” associations and journals.
In October 1997, AE announced the formation of a political party — Alternativa Europea—Liga Social Republicana (European Alternative — Republican Social League), as a cover for Spanish national revolutionary groups. The party was born from a self-critical analysis by various right-wing groups, and while operating in opposition to the political system generally, it also breaks with the traditional Spanish Right. Its new program of July 1997 argues for a European Federal Republic, and a stop to the current trend toward a European Union; the party takes an ultranationalist position. With reference to domestic policy, it proposes a republican model for the state rather than a monarchy. It is in favor of regional decentralization, but not in favor of conceding autonomy to regions as in the current Spanish policy. AE emphasizes the territorial unity of Spain. Tribuna de Europa is consistent in its opposition to American culture and U.S. policies. The United States is defined as the “enemy of the common cause of humanity and the principal bastion of unpatriotic imperialism.”
In comparison with other national revolutionary groups, antisemitic discourse is peripheral in the pages of Tribuna de Europa. Nevertheless, its pages heralded the book by Roger Garaudy, Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique israélienne (Founding myths of Israeli politics), that questions the right for a Jewish state to dominate Palestinians, and offers harsh criticism of French antiracist bodies like LICRA, MRAP, and CRIF which it considers to be “Israeli agents provocateurs on European territory.” Although it does not deny the Nazi crimes of the Holocaust, it states that these crimes serve as a perpetual alibi and protective shield that serves as a cover-up for Israel’s “racist apartheid regime” and the “half-slavery” imposed on Palestinians, in the words of Erik Norling.27 The bulletin frequently includes political cartoons praising Palestinian combatants, and the slogan ¡¡Todos somos Palestinos!! (We are all Palestinians!).
With the collapse of the CEDADE organization, its most active members continued their cultural agitation in new associations, journals, and more recently, through penetration of less radical extreme Right organizations.
The Right in Spain has tended to form splinter groups, and since 1982, there has been no all-encompassing extreme Right party after the dissolution of Fuerza Nueva. This party lacked sufficient voters to maintain its sole member in parliament. Thus, it has been increasingly important for the extreme Right to print and distribute as many publications as possible, and this has given neo-Nazis a greater visibility than if there were a single neo-Francoist or neo-Falangist party.
CEDADE and Holocaust Denial
During the 1980s, CEDADE specialized in circulating neo-Nazi denial of the Holocaust. Its bulletin of March 1989, for example, included an interview with Robert Faurisson, “the principal world authority on the controversial question of Nazi concentration camps,” and it has published an abridged edition of The Hoax of the Twentieth Century by the American Arthur R. Butz.28 As with American and European neo-Nazi organizations, the purpose of Holocaust denial is to absolve Nazism from responsibility for planning and bringing about the Second World War and the genocide of the Jews. By distorting our knowledge of these events and fabricating a “revised version” whose sole purpose is to absolve the Third Reich of its responsibility, these propagandists believe that public opinion will then find their leaders’ proposals — such as introducing legislation to limit immigration and freedom of the press —more digestible.29
The Spanish neo-Nazis have contributed nothing original to the “theory” already elaborated by their European comrades. In general, most of the authors (who have followed the model of publications put out by the Historical Review Press) have had some previous links to CEDADE. Members of the organization founded two associations specializing in Holocaust denial — the Centro de Estudios Históricos Revisionistas (Center of Revisionist Historical Studies, CEHRE) and the Centro de Estudios Revisionista Orientaciones (Center for Revionist-Oriented Studies, CERO). CEHRE has an office in Alicante, which produced the journal Revisión during 1985–1990. Its editor, Carlos Caballero, included articles favorable to fascist movements, and about the “real” origin of the Second World War. Also appearing were articles denying the Holocaust by such figures as Roland Fournier, Jorge Lobo, David Irving, Carlo Mattogno, Erik Norling, Alfred Seidl, José L. Ontiveros, Thies Christophersen, Enrique Aynat, Robert Faurisson, and Carlos Cabellero himself. Caballero has authored several books about fascist organizations, and on political and military issues. His writings vindicate the “good intentions” of the Axis powers; two have been published in England by revisionist groups — the “Foreign Volunteers of the Wehrmacht” and “Resistance Warfare.” The second Spanish group, CERO, is directed by J. Negreira and J. Lobo in Palma de Mallorca.
Between 1987 and 1989 CEHRE and CERO jointly edited Revi-Info, a bulletin about activities and publications of Holocaust denial circles. The two groups promoted the wide circulation of a pamphlet entitled “66 Questions and Answers about the Holocaust” (originally published by the Institute for Historical Review in the United States and previously translated into Spanish by CEDADE). The pamphlet charges that “Judaism declared war on Germany in 1933” and calls the genocide of Jews a lie that only benefits Israel. The two groups drew on the directory of groups, publications, and publishing houses in CERO’s journal, Orientaciones, and Mundo NS (NS World) published in Barcelona since 1984 by Ramon Bau, the former secretary general of CEDADE. All these organizations trivialize the Holocaust and argue that only the “hostile Jewish community” was imprisoned in concentration camps; there was no large-scale extermination, “only” starvation, epidemics, and some “excesses” against the Jews that were committed by a few officers as retaliation for the Allied raids over Germany. The shameless editors of these publications assert that “some of these officers were tried by Nazi courts and executed.”30 Issue no. 6 of Revi-Info (1988) contains an article that admits that there were deportations, internment, and “fortuitous massacres,” which it condemns. Other collaborators in the publication of this literature include Librería Europa, a Barcelona bookshop opened by CEDADE, and the publishing house founded by García Hispán, a former representative of CEDADE in Granada. García Hispán has published several books praising the military and “human” qualities of Nazi and fascist armies, including Erik Norling’s Race of Vikings. The Division SS Norland (1943–1945), and Carlos Caballero’s The National Romanian Army. Romanian Volunteers of the Waffen-SS.
Yet even among these propagandists, some realized that they were unable to deceive the public. A review in Orientaciones stated that the books by Joaquín Bochaca — The Six Million Myth. The Fraud about Jews Assassinated by Hitler and The History of the Conquered — are little more than a collection of inconsistencies and antisemitic diatribe, excessively ideological and unscientific. The reviewer suggests that what is needed is a Spanish revisionist school, involving the specialist Enrique Aynat.31 A few months afterward, Aynat admitted that he had done little direct research in this area.32 Aynat has published some titles such as The Newspaper ABC and the Holocaust,The Crematoriums at Birkenau. A Critical Study, and A Debate about the Holocaust. A Reply to César Vidal (1995). The latter was a response to The Revision of the Holocaust by the Spanish historian César Vidal.
In January 1994, with the help of CEDADE, the publisher Bright Rainbow put out Gerd Honsik’s book, Absolution for Hitler? with the intention of promoting in Spain the international neo-Nazi campaign. Despite the limited results of this effort, CEDADE has continued to circulate its materials through setting up book tables on the streets of various towns, and by having stands at the Book Fairs in Madrid and Barcelona. They produced an introductory pamphlet for these occasions: “Dare to get to know us!” Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, CEDADE maintained its widespread international contacts, not only offering its publishing and distribution facilities to other neo-Nazi groups, but also sponsoring meetings that would have been illegal in other countries. The most important of these was the celebration of the centenary of Hitler’s birth in April 1989.
CEDADE participated in other neo-Nazi campaigns, such as the effort that began in December 1977 to have the Nazi leader Rudolf Hess released from prison. The Nuremberg trials had sentenced Hess to life imprisonment for conspiracy and crimes against peace and against humanity. The campaign for his release from prison began in Germany, then in Austria and Spain, where CEDADE produced many posters, and the leaflet “37 years in prison. Liberty for Rudolf Höss, 1941–1978.” A similar pamphlet vindicating the “martyrs of Nuremberg” — “30 years since the crime of Nuremberg” — had been put out in the previous year by Odal, another publisher linked to CEDADE.
CEDADE’s efforts “to commemorate the centenary of Adolf Hitler in the serious and worthy manner it deserves” represents the final attempt to revive the organization. The event, held at the Cinema Benlliure in Madrid, brought many European neo-Nazi leaders to Spain. In fact, the only authorized commemoration for the event was held in Spain — other countries had suppressed such “celebrations” in light of what had happened previously on the ninetieth anniversary of Hitler’s birth.
Contributions from abroad enabled CEDADE to print 40,000 posters designed by Ernst Zündel, and 16,000 stickers. The word “anniversary” appeared in Spanish, German, English and French, and neo-Nazi activists put it up in many European towns as well as in Argentina and Chile during the night of April 19.
A special issue of CEDADE’s bulletin included contributions by Léon Degrelle, Wilfred von Oven (Goebbels’ assistant in the Ministry of Propaganda), Salvador Borrego (Mexican neo-Nazi propagandist and writer), Florentin Rost van Tonningen (wife of Dutch Nazi leader Meinoud van Tonningen), Thies Christophersen (German Nazi propagandist sheltered in Denmark), Manfred Roeder (founder in 1971 of German Civil Initiative), Matt Koehl (an American, secretary of the World Union of National Socialists), Richard Edmons (leader of the British National Party and publisher of Holocaust News), Christopher Scherrer (of Wiking Jugend Swiss), Poul Riis Knudsen (sponsor of the National Socialist Movement in Denmark), and number of Spanish neo-Nazis, including Pedro Varela, Daniel Aguilar, Juan Massana, José Luis Jerez, and Javier Nicolás. In addition, CEDADE produced a “Wagnerian Travel Guide” and a reprint of Degrelle’s book, Fascinating Hitler.
The gathering for Hitler’s centenary met with protest, but the government of Spain allowed it since it was sponsored by a legal organization. The Government Delegation of Madrid attempted to prohibit the event, noting that Nazi commemorations were a danger to law and order and citing a 1959 law to this effect. Nevertheless, the police allowed 200–300 people to join the event outside the cinema, where they heard Pedro Varela and Thies Christophersen paying tribute to the Nazi dictatorship and commending Hitler for his brilliant ideas and social measures. Later that night, CEDADE held a meeting in its Madrid offices at which Pedro Varela, van Tonningen, Thies Christophersen, and Ewald Althaus (representing German neo-Nazis) spoke. The evening’s principle speaker was Léon Degrelle, who delivered an anti-democratic speech, throwing in a few antisemitic remarks as well.
This was the last outstanding public appearance of CEDADE, however. Several months later, beset by various crises and internal divisions, the organization dissolved in October 1993. There was no one available to replace Pedro Varela, who had decided to concentrate on the Librería Europa and the publishing world. Another neo-Nazi source attributed the dissolution to the “economic and moral ruin” of CEDADE’s leaders, including “debts, swindles, and liaisons,” “a fair of jugglers, racketeers and womanizing.” The Madrid office was closed, and the publishing network abandoned.33 Some former members of CEDADE put out a series of documents under the title Project IES in 1994, intended as an initial step in reorganizing the militants. They later integrated into the extreme Right National Democracy party, which presents an image of “moderation” and distances itself from the old neo-francoist organizations.
Ramón Bau’s Mundo NS
Appearing in April 1984, Mundo NS (NS World) is edited and produced by Ramón Bau in Barcelona at his Centro Unitario publishing house, as an organ of Ediciones Wotan.
At present, the journal appears monthly, with a wide range of information about extreme Right political organizations and publications, especially when these are related to Holocaust denial. It presents a critical analysis of the evolution of the Spanish extreme Right, as well as recommendations about propaganda tactics and political strategy. A segment is devoted to ecological concerns, and praises rural life, the music of Wagner, and art of the Nazi period. The journal can be nauseatingly racist: issue number 71 (August 1995), for example, included seven pages of “jokes” about Jews. In several issues, it is suggested that the “true Holocaust” is abortion, or the “Palestinian Holocaust.” A number of articles have appeared about the Nuremberg trials, with homage paid to Nazi propagandists like Gottfried Küssel and Gerhard Lauck, who are victimof the “Zionist sadism of the system.” The journal’s principal is keep alive the national socialist ideology and to provide a haven to extreme Right militants opposed to the system.
Issue number 54 (December 1993) was devoted to the “Jewish problem,” a topic developed by Bau when he served as secretary general of CEDADE. Obsessed with “Jewish power,” Bau begins by dehumanizing the Jews, and going on to suggest discriminatory and repressive measures against them. The editorial describes Jews as the center of power that works towards corruption of the contemporary world. Jews are defined as a “pseudo ethnic race produced by a secular mixture” which groups an archetype, a way of understanding the world (Judaism), and a number of “racial branches derived from various sources.” The “Jewish problem,” Bau states, results from the fact that Jews have “a cosmology radically contrary to ours [i.e., that of Aryan people]” and they try to impose it everywhere. In order to eliminate Jewish influence, he proposes a “reasonable and decent solution”: to “remove Jews from Europe and from Aryan societies,” to abolish Israel, and to create another, demilitarized, Jewish state in which to enclose all the Jews.34
One must point out that the propaganda of CEDADE and Mundo NS have been viewed with limited interest by the majority of the Spanish extreme Right; without doubt, their work is more appreciated by neo-Nazi and extreme Right organizations outside of Spain. As previously noted, the main Spanish parties on the extreme Right (Fuerza Nueva, Frente Nacional, Juntas Españolas) dealt with other matters in their political programs, and furthermore, have scarcely made an impact among the electorate. For years, these parties spread incitement for a coup d’état against the democratic regime that led to the unsuccessful attempt of February 1981. Some of these organizations, along with subsequently formed parties, have been encouraged by the rise of France’s National Front, and the increase in xenophobia recorded in Spanish public opinion polls since the end of the 1980s. Yet openly racist publications arouse revulsion among the general public, as do the leaders of the extreme Right. An issue of Mundo NS was dedicated to racial questions. In it, Bau asserted that there are superior and inferior races, and recommended three videotapes on the subject of genetics, available from the Argentine Walhalla publishing company. He hinted that feelings of superiority or scorn towards other races was not actually racism, but was rather a fundamental urge for preserving the Aryan nations and preventing the integration of racial minorities in Western society.35
The racist discourse has had little success. Juntas Españolas has used racist discourse most frequently, identifying poor immigrants from Africa as “infection carriers, bringing drug problems into the country, and international deliquency.” One of the party slogans was “Stop immigration.” At the same time, the nationalist Catholic groups have continued their cultural and religious racism by maintaining the superiority of this civilization over eastern cultures. For their part, the extreme Right parties of the 1990s have specialized in equating immigration with illegal immigration, and concentrating their xenophobia against poor and colored immigrants, along with anti-American speeches, and opposing the European Union.
Neo-Nazis and the “New Right”
Since the mid-1970s, a number of journals have appeared in Spain linked to the ideology of the French “New Right.” They specialize in disseminating “scientific” theories about “different cultures” that are used to justify elitist and racist ideas, and to oppose “cosmopolitanism” and the supposed Christian-Jewish origin of Liberalism and Marxism. CEDADE propagandists and writers identified with the “conservative revolution” have played an important role in promoting these publications. Among the writers is Isidro J. Palacios, Antonio Medrano, Fernando Sánchez Dragó, and José Javier Esparza.
Palacios, a former member of the foreign relations committee of CEDADE, promoted the journal Punto y coma (Period and comma) from 1983 to 1989. It was the most important of the new publications that attempted to introduce “New Right” ideas in to Spain. Palacios was also editor of Más allá de la ciencia (Further than science), and Próximo milenio (Next millennium). The former is sold at newstands, and specializes in esoterica, Egyptology, and extraterrestrial beings, but has also included a number of articles about Nazism and a positive view of the Third Reich. The June 1993 issue contained a monograph entitled “Who Controls the World?” Several known neo-Nazis contributed articles for this issue: Joaquín Bochaca wrote “The Secret Societies”; Rodrigo Díaz Sitjar on “The Invisible Government of the World” that asserted that “Jewish bankers…have a private pact with the devil”; Alejandro Milá wrote “Adolf Hitler and the Thule Society”; and José L. Jerez wrote on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Jerez in his introduction classified this work as “prophetic,” defending its authenticity and adding that even though it was a falsification, one could not deny the “truthfulness of the facts” — that the Protocols had predicted the two world wars, the introduction of communism in Russia, and universal suffrage.
Antonio Medrano wrote the pamphlet Islam and Europe, and in December 1974 dedicated a conference to proclaiming allegiance to Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem. Islamic culture was praised as “genuinely Aryan” and inspired by the neo-Nazi authors René Guenon and Johann von Leers, he explained that Islamic culture showed how to recover the “interior light” after “centuries of Hebraic oppression.”
Another established writer, an anti-Jewish apologist for the Islamic world, is Sánchez Dragó. In one of his best-known books, he says Jews belong to a masochistic, accusing, and neurotically self-sacrificing race,” insinuating that the Jews favored the outbreak of the Second World War and even the Holocaust itself in order to seek an excuse for “recovering Israel.”36
Another journalist and writer, José Javier Esparza, as noted above, is editor of the journal Punta y coma, as well as the conservative newspaper ABC. He also founded the journal Hespérides in May 1993. Its first issue included the “Manifesto del Proyecto Cultural Aurora” (Manifesto of the Aurora Cultural Project) which asserted that it’s necessary to find a “new” and non-democratic form of government. Articles have appeared in Hespérides by Alain de Benoist, Guillaume Faye, G. Fernández de la Mora (a former minister of the Franco regime), Juan Antonio Aguilar (a present day leader of FE-JONS), Carlos Caballero, and Antonio Medrano. It’s more than a little curious that an article by Mario Soria, “The crimes of the twentieth century: what all people should know but prefer to forget” says nothing about the genocide of the Jews. It is also significant that Sánchez Dragó, interviewed in the winter 1997 issue defined Jesus Christ as a “pagan hero…in the jail of Judaism,” and St. Paul as a Jew who transformed Jesus Christ “in the most monstrous fraud of universal history.” At the same time, José L. Martínez Sanz, professor of history at Complutense University of Madrid, in an article about the expulsion from Spain of the Jews (1492) and the Moors (1609), holds the opinion that the expulsion of the Jews generated homogeneity and was the element leading Spain to become “the first world power.”37
The Affair Friedman and the “Friends of Léon Degrelle” Society
CEDADE devoted much attention to defence of Nazis and their collaborators being prosecuted by law, such as Klaus Barbie, and in particular, Léon Degrelle. Degrelle, founder of Belgian fascism, and former commander of the Valona Legion that fought with Hitler’s troops on the Eastern Front, was one of the principle promoters of CEDADE. The organization’s Ediciones Nothung in Barcelona published a number of Degrelle’s books, such as Our Europe and Hitler for 1000 Years. Other publishers connected with the Spanish extreme Right, like Editorial Fuerza Nueva and Ediciones D, translated Passionate Spirits, Memories of a Fascist, Open Letter to tPope about Auschwitz, and Léon Degrelle’s Signature and Flourish, with a preface by José Utrera Molina, a Falangist and minister in the Franco regime.
CEDADE gave particular support to Degrelle when he was sued by Violeta Friedman. Born in Transylvania (Romania), Friedman was a survivor of Auschwitz who later immigrated to Spain. She filed a suit under a Spanish law to protect her honor after Degrelle, in the July 1985 issue of Tiempo and on Spanish television, said “If there are so many Jews at present, it is difficult to believe they are alive and kicking after the gas chambers.” The courts found against Friedman in the first trial and subsequent appeal. Degrelle’s lawyer was his son-in-law, Juan Servando Balaguer, a leader of the Juntas Españolas party.
After this, however, private prosecution was rejected in consecutive judicial petitions, arguing that the claimant lacked the necessary legitimacy. In November 1991, the Constitutional Court revoked the previous sentences and recognized the corresponding legitimacy of Friedman’s case, that is to say, her right to honor against Degrelle’s statements. The high court argued that even though the Holocaust is recognized as historical fact, publication of distortions of this history was protected under guarantees of freedom of speech. Nevertheless, the court’s judgment was that such declarations have a “racist and antisemitic connotation” and therefore form an indecent assault against the human dignity of the Jewish people, including of course, the claimant Violeta Friedman, and all who were “interned in the Nazi concentration camps.” The court decision recognized that the principle of freedom of speech cannot protect “declarations or expressions whose objective is to scorn or generate feelings of hostility against fixed ethnic, foreign, or immigrant groups.”
In the following four years, there were important judicial reforms designed to combat racism. In April 1995, the House of Commons passed a bill making it a crime to justify the Holocaust or deny that it happened. The Spanish legislature approved a reform of the penal code in November 1995 that went into effect in May 1996. The previous code had prohibited only incitement to discrimination. Adding to the list of “aggravating circumstances,” the revised code prohibits offences motivated by racism, antisemitism, or the victims’s national or ethnic origin, or religion. Included are acts of any kind that justify or advocate genocide. Diffusion by any means of ideas or doctrines that “attempt to re-establish regimes or institutions that condone practices leading to such crimes, will be punished with a prison sentence of one to two years.”
In December 1996, the Catalonian autonomous police closed the Europa bookstore managed by Pedro Varela. Numerous Nazi books and publications denying the Holocaust were confiscated, along with videotapes, pamphlets, and other materials in Spanish, English, and German. Page proofs of new publications yet to go to press were also confiscated, demonstrating the Europa was one of the largest producers of antisemitic material in Europe. Indeed, Librería Europa’s 1996 catalogue listed several publications about the composer Richard Wagner, Nordic and Scandinavian mythology, Nazi art, the Luftwaffe and Waffen SS, works by Julius Evola, and various Holocaust denial publications by Erik Norling, Carlos Caballero, and Salvador Borrego. Varela was arrested, and place on provisional liberty awaiting the trial. Thus, with the new law, it is possible to curb the activities of racist groups. However, Librería Europa was open again after a few months.
On 16 November 1998, Varela was sentenced to five years in jail; at the time of writing, he is on provisional liberty awaiting sentencing, which will follow his lawyer’s appeal. Other neo-Nazis, such as Erik Norling, in Hoja Informativa del Instituto Europeo para el Fomento de la Investigación Histórica (Spring 1998) support the work of Librería Europa. And Bau’s Mundo NS (December 1998) has appealed for funds for Varela’s upcoming court appearance. At the same time, as a result of the sentence against Varela, Bau has informed subscribers that Mundo NS will cease publication for three years in order to find ways of adapting its message to the new legal circumstances. Meanwhile, he has begun publishing the newsletter Bajo la tiranía, defined as a national-socialist voice under the democratic dictatorship.
After the tightening of the law, some neo-Nazis have complained against members who dropped out, or who attempt to hide their membership in such groups. Mundo NS argued that reformation of the Spanish penal code does not prevent the continuing fight against democracy since “the laws are only directed towards a couple of basic themes of the Nazis,” and thus “it is necessary to explain [our point of view] more clearly.” The writer added that those who hide their past political affiliation with a Nazi organization are cowards who generate a loss of credibility.38
Léon Degrelle, who died in March 1994, was one of the most admired figures among the neo-Nazis. A cultural association, “Friends of Léon Degrelle” was legalized in March 1996. President of the association is the lawyer and former CEDADE member José L. Jerez Riesco, Pedro Varela as vice-president and Erik Norling as secretary. Degrelle’s widow, Jeanne M. Brevet, is named as honorary president. REX: Journal of the Friends of Léon Degrelle Cultural Association is the group’s annual publication. The first issue appeared in March 1997 with two articles by Degrelle, “Les Mouvements Fascistes” (The fascist movements) and “A l’est, avec les Wallons” (To the east with the Walloons), both of which were previously published in the Nazi journal Signal in January 1943.
Any research on the European extreme Right should take into consideration the significance of Spanish neo-Nazism. CEDADE, for example, has been an important organization — not because of the number of militants or votes it can muster — but because of its thirty years of activity. Such a long stay on the political scene was unusual among neo-Nazi organizations in Europe and the United States since 1945. CEDADE paid little attention to the Spanish political situation, and promoted Nazism.
Certainly there were some factors unique to Spain that were favorable for the development of neo-Nazi groups. Foremost among these were Franco’s dictatorship, and the fact that Spain had been allied with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, with important personal ties between the leaders of the fascist parties. After World War II, a number of Nazi leaders and collaborators took shelter in Spain, and they encouraged the founding of neo-Nazi circles and indoctrinated the members. In addition, there was a sector of radical Falangists who were dissatisfied with the evolution of Franco’s regime, and were prepared to assist the development of neo-Nazi activity in the country. Spanish neo-Nazi publishing houses produced vast amounts of propaganda material over a long period of time, including that which denied the Holocaust. Publication was curtailed only after the enactment of tighter laws.
Since the dissolution
of CEDADE, there are only a few remaining neo-Nazi propaganda centers —
Mundo NS, the Librería Europa (both in Barcelona),
Ediciones García Hispán, and a few minor bulletins whose
publication may be impeded in the future. Antisemitism is not a central
issue in the publications of the Spanish extreme Right, although it appears
occasionally in journals such as Nueva Politica, Resistencia, Hespérides,
de Europa. And one must not forget that militants and former leaders
previously linked to Nazism sometimes find positions in the “moderate”
extreme Right parties such as the Democracia Nacional, or even in the conservative
Right parties such as the Partido de Acción Democrática Española
(Spanish Democratic Action Party).
L. Rodríguez Jiménez was
born in 1961 in Madrid. He holds a Ph.D. in contemporary history at the
Complutense University of Madrid. He is associate professor at the Rey
Juan Carlos University in Madrid. Among his books are Reactionaries
and Participants in a Coup d’Etat. The Extreme Right in Spain (1967–1982)
(Madrid 1994); The Spanish Extreme Right during the Twentieth Century
(Madrid 1997); New Fascisms? The Extreme Right in Europe and the United
States (Barcelona 1998), along with numerous articles on the extreme
Right, Holocaust denial, and political history.
Copyright ©,2005 , The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. All Rights Reserved.