The stork sticking its beak into the German far right

 

Berlin

He wrote a book called Mein Krampf (My Cramp), sports a toothbrush moustache and a rigid side parting and infuriates members of Germany's main neo-Nazi party with his satirical take on the Teutonic far-right.

The character in question is Storch Heinar, an anti-Nazi cartoon stork, whose image has appeared more than 5,000 times on anti far-right campaign posters in north-eastern Germany where state elections will be held on Sunday. The stork posters proclaiming "Stork Power instead of Nazis" have been deliberately placed beside the campaign placards of Germany's neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD).

The lampooned NPD is furious. Party workers have made frenzied efforts to rid the region's big cities of stork posters to avoid further ridicule. Hundreds of Stork Power placards have been ripped from lampposts in the port of Rostock. "We are on the home stretch. The stork is giving his all to keep out the extremist idiots," says creator and Social Democrat politician, Matthias Brodkorb.

Storch Heinar began life as a satirical anti-Nazi figure whose aim was to debunk the "Thor Steiner" clothing frequently worn as a status symbol by members of far-right and skinhead groups. Heinar's Hitler moustache and Mein Krampf biography is complemented by his penchant for steel helmets and egg nogs and a rabid intolerance of frogs.

Mediatex, the company which owns the "Thor Steiner" label, tried to get "Storch Heinar" banned for belittling its products. But last year a court in Bavaria threw out the case after a judge ruled that he could see no reasonable grounds for the complaint. Aping the language of Adolf Hitler, Storch Heinar boasted afterwards: "The enemy has been destructively defeated."

Storch Heinar has since gone from strength to strength. The cartoon character has toured Germany with his own rock band: "Storchkraft" (Stork Power). T-shirts and badges bearing his image are best-sellers. He has even travelled the country promoting Mein Krampf.

The Social Democrats' decision to use the stork for their election campaign in the north east is a new development, but has gained popular local support. Benjamin Weiss, a Rostock hotel owner, grew so irritated by the NPD's xenophobic propaganda in a region that depends heavily on tourism that he joined the "Storch Heinar Division" and organised his own team to put up some 300 stork posters around his hotel. "I am fed up with seeing my guests welcomed to Rostock with slogan such as: 'Tourists welcome – foreigners out,'" he said.

The NPD has parliamentary seats in the east German states of Saxony and Mecklenburg-Pomerania. The government's bid to ban the openly racist organisation was rejected by Germany's constitutional court in 2003 after it emerged that intelligence service moles were the source of incriminating evidence against the party.

The NPD's chances of retaining its north-east seats are considered so narrow it is toughto make an accurate prediction. "The far right gets particularly annoyed by humorous initiatives," said Gudrun Heinrich, a political scientist at Rostock university. "Because it doesn't know how to deal with them."

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride