Golden Dawn Used Hitler’s Playbook

Members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party called leader Nikolaos Michaloliaos "Fuhrer"
Members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party called leader Nikolaos Michaloliaos “Fuhrer” and were beaten for insubordination

While he repeatedly denied running a neo-Nazi operation, Golden Dawn party leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos was nicknamed “Fuhrer,” and used dogma and methodology from Adolf Hitler, prosecutors alleged as they readied a case against him and his hierarchy on charges of running a criminal gang as the government moved to break it up with legal means.

The report said that Michaloliakos oversaw all decisions with Christos Pappas, among those arrested in a sweep of MP’s and members of the party which has 18 seats in Parliament, as his second-in-command. It said that Michaloliakos was the absolute ruler and organized the party following the Nazi Fuehrerprinzip dogma which dictates that all subordinates must be appointed by their superiors.

That was included in the nine-page document compiled by Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Haralambos Vourliotis which found that the party sought supporters with martial arts skills and recruited young Greeks for its hit squads. The report, sections of which were leaked to the Greek media, found that the party operated subject to a strict hierarchy, with orders being passed down from the leader to deputy leaders and subordinates.

Each local organization was led by a five-member committee headed by a cell leader who took decisions relating to local activities while a parallel five-member committee took in trainees and candidate members ahead of their official induction to the party, the report said.

And while Golden Dawn has been accused of a rampage of violence against immigrants, it also offered some of them protection in return for a cut of their sales of counterfeit goods and contraband goods, it was further alleged, especially smuggled cigarettes which are sold openly on the streets in some Athens neighborhoods.

The report did not rule out the participation of police officers in some of the activities of the organization but noted that further investigation was necessary to determine the nature of their involvement. The Greek Police’s internal affairs department last week launched a probe into suspected links between Golden Dawn and police officers.

Depositions given by two former Golden Dawn members which have helped authorities bring charges against the group’s leader and MPs showed how clandestine it was. The two witnesses were members of the chapter in Nikaia, where rapper Pavlos Fyssas was murdered by a Golden Dawn member earlier this month, police said in charging him.

The pair explained to authorities how the party’s chapters were split into small cells of five people with members having to account to the leader of their cell, who then reported to his superiors. There were regular indoctrination classes, including lessons on Hitler that denied the atrocities carried out by the Nazis, the two ex-members said, including that the Holocaust of six million Jews and millions of others ever happened.

They also claimed that any members who questioned their superiors or the party were beaten. A group of members was dedicated to harassing anyone who left the party to ensure that they would not talk about their experiences, much like the harassment to which former Scientology members are subjected.