US neo-Nazi jailed for four years

Spitting defiance at the German judiciary, the American neo-Nazi leader Gary Lauck marched out of a Hamburg courtroom yesterday to begin a four- year prison sentence for exporting racist propaganda.

"The struggle goes on," he shouted in German as he was led away. "Neither the National Socialists nor the Communists dared to kidnap an American citizen," he screamed.

Those were the first meaningful words he uttered during the three-month trial, contesting to the end the German court's jurisdiction over his activities. Lauck, 43, had built a neo-Nazi publishing empire at his home town of Lincoln, Nebraska, sheltered from prosecution by the US constitution.

A man who cultivated a fake German accent and adopted Hitler's hair style and moustache, Lauck has led the National Socialist German Workers' Party - Overseas Organisation, for more than a decade, and distributes the NS-Battle Cry newsletter, as well as other Nazi propaganda material banned in Germany.

He was arrested on an international warrant from Germany when he attended a convention of neo-Nazis in Denmark in March 1995. In September last year he was extradited to Germany on the basis of a little-used Danish law that bans racist statements. Whilst Lauck himself remained silent during the trial, his lawyer tried to argue that the man dubbed by the US press as the "farm-belt Fuhrer" had committed no crime under his own country's laws.

"I am a Nazi, but this isn't about my views, it's about the constitution," Lauck told the Dallas Morning Post last week. "Here I am, a newspaper publisher, and I was kidnapped abroad and taken to a third country and thrown in jail for something that is totally legal in the United States."

But the German authorities traced much of the flood of Nazi propaganda to Lauck's home base, and the court accepted that Lauck had been personally involved in smuggling the literature into Germany.

"Lauck turned many young people against democracy," said the prosecutor, Bernd Mauruschat, in his closing argument. The prosecution said that, for two decades, Lauck has been German extremists' main supplier of brochures, Nazi and neo-Nazi stickers, arm-bands, banners and signs. Many of the Nazi seminal works were also translated into other languages, feeding the new extremist movements that have risen out of the ashes of Communism in Eastern Europe.

Despite his obsessive interests in the Third Reich, Lauck had no German background, though he tried to adopt a German persona. He had read Hitler's Mein Kampf (My Struggle) at the age of 13, and spent his teenage years forging a neo-Nazi movement in the US.

Since his arrest, the flood of Nazi propaganda reaching Germany has turned into a trickle, and is expected to dry up while he is serving his sentence. Having spent 15 months under arrest, his prison term expires in just over two-and-a-half years, by which time the German authorities hope the audience for his kind of enlightenment will have shrunk to insignificance.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Design Consultant - Kitchens & Interiors

£12000 - £14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This bespoke furniture and inte...

Recruitment Genius: Solar PV Surveyor

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Corporate Security Officer

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This provider of commercial security solution...

Recruitment Genius: Design Consultant - Kitchen and Interiors - OTE £45,000

£17000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This bespoke furniture and inte...

Day In a Page

A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works