What does the symbol 44
theme - Nazis
The best-known right-wing extremist numerical code is certainly 88. The eight stands for the eighth letter of the alphabet. This results in HH, which stands for the forbidden expression "Heil Hitler". The same works for "Adolf Hitler" at 18. Also sympathy for the Nazi music network "Blood & Honor", which was banned in Germany in 2000, is abbreviated by right-wing extremists with the number 28 as a reaction to criminal prosecution. Even if the police know exactly what this means, they cannot take legal action against a numerical code.
But there are also far more complicated numbers that right-wing extremists use to identify themselves to insiders. For example, 168: 1. The scene shows its admiration for the right-wing extremist Timothy McVeigh, who blew up a government building in Oklahoma City, USA in 1995. 168 people died in the attack. McVeigh was sentenced to the death penalty. 168 to 1, from the Nazi perspective a good result in the fight against the hated democracy.
Another scene code is 14. It stands for the famous "14 words" of the American neo-Nazi David Lane, with which he called for the "protection of the Aryan race". "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children".
Neo-Nazi brands with recognition value
The game of hide-and-seek is also clearly evident in the scene's clothing. The labels Fred Perry, Lonsdale and New Balance, which are often wrongly associated with rights, were never Nazi brands in the true sense of the word, but rather normal companies that were suddenly and without wanting to be worn by neo-Nazis. But there are a number of fashion brands that are made by and for right-wing extremists. They use ciphers to serve their clientele without risking criminal proceedings. The name of the Consdaple brand was chosen so that only the abbreviation of the National Socialist Party, NSDAP, can be seen when worn with an open jacket. Another Nazi brand is called Masterrace Europe (Herrenrace Europe) and another sells modernly designed clothing in a surfer look with messages such as "Aryan Resistance" or a machine gun of the Wehrmacht.
The Brandenburg fashion brand Thor Steinar, whose owners always claim to be apolitical, cleverly plays with folk runes, Nazi symbols and images. Originally, Thor Steinar clothing was almost exclusively available from Nazi shops and Nazi mail order companies. In the meantime, the brand has grown into a large company with annual profits of millions. On Nazi marches, the company's T-shirts with ambiguous imprints such as "Ski Heil" or "Kontaktfreudig" (with blood splatters in the logo) remain unmistakable.
The right-wing extremists are particularly inventive when it comes to agitation against Jews - not only on T-shirts, but also in propaganda papers for the scene. They know very well that there is a threat of criminal proceedings for denial of the Holocaust or sedition and therefore play cleverly with ambiguous terms. In 2005, for example, the NPD MP Jürgen Gansel provoked a scandal in the Saxon state parliament when he described the Allied air raids on Dresden in February 1945 as a "bomb holocaust". By tearing the word Holocaust, which stands for the murder of millions of Jews under National Socialism, from its original context, the mass murder of the Nazis is to be played down.
The frequently used word "USrael" is also quite easy to understand. This mixed word from Israel and the USA should suggest that politics and economics in America are controlled by "the Jews". A conspiracy theory that finds supporters not only in the neo-Nazi spectrum worldwide. It becomes more difficult when one speaks of the "control centers of the American east coast". This term stands for the supposedly Jewish-dominated international financial system. Neo-Nazis claim that the stock exchange and also the banks in New York (on the east coast of the USA) are secretly controlled by Jews.
An anti-Semitic scene abbreviation that is often used for T-shirts is "ZOG". It stands for "Zionist Occupied Government". Neo-Nazis insinuate that various states are secretly "controlled by Jews". This shows how easy it is for the neo-Nazis to have their own conspiracy theory confirmed again and again. If any country does something that is directed against the goals of the right-wing extremists, it is simply claimed that "the Jews" are behind it.
Right-wing extremist vocabulary on the way into everyday language
One of the goals of right-wing extremist circles is to coined keywords they have thought up and to bring them into public awareness. This was achieved, for example, with the (in) word "National Liberated Zone". The term originally comes from a strategy paper of the NPD organization National Democratic University Association (NHB). The authors called for streets, districts or entire towns to be dominated by right-wing extremist thugs in such a way that potential victim groups such as migrants, homosexuals, people with disabilities or non-right-wing extremist youths must expect violence at all times. At the same time, own companies and bars should be founded in which only right-wing extremists are employed. At the end of the 1990s, the media picked up the word, and it became known nationwide when it was voted unword of the year 2000 at the latest. Even if the "National Liberated Zones" hoped for by the neo-Nazis has not yet existed anywhere in Germany, the word keeps coming up.
This also applies to the term "asylum fraudster", which is supposed to deny the politically persecuted legitimate reasons for their flight and acceptance in Germany. The word "do-gooder", which is mostly used to express contempt for people who stand up against racism and for social justice, originally comes from the right-wing extremist corner. The strategists of the neo-Nazi scene see it as a personal success when one of "their" words finds its way into normal usage.
The past has shown that bans have little effect on right-wing extremist symbols and ciphers. New codes are created for every ban. Even if the external impact of hidden messages remains low, they still play a decisive role as an identity-creating feature for the scene. It is therefore all the more important to carefully observe their language and symbols in order to be able to recognize neo-Nazis in the future.
Johannes Radke works as a freelance journalist and right-wing extremism expert in Berlin.
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