By Toby Axelrod
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
BERLIN (JTA) — A new documentary is shining light on Germany’s neo-Nazi music scene and the role it plays in cultivating a violent far-right subculture.
The film “Blut muss Fliessen” (Blood Must Flow) looks at the neo-Nazi music scene in Germany, as well as in Austria, Italy and Hungary. The documentary, which takes its name from a song adopted by Nazi storm-troopers, features footage from neo-Nazi parties and concerts taken by an undercover reporter.
It is a timely topic: Last week, German authorities slapped hate-crimes charges on a neo-Nazi musician behind the 2010 CD “Adolf Hitler Lives.” Singer Daniel Giese of the band Gigi the Brown City Musicians and the record’s producer were charged in connection with hate-filled lyrics claiming that no Jews died in Auschwitz and celebrating a spate of killings — known in Germany as the “kebab murders” — targeting small businessmen of Turkish origin.
The killings were the focus of a national day of mourning on Feb. 23, with a Berlin ceremony featuring an address by Chancellor Angela Merkel and a nationwide moment of silence. The murder spree, which took place between 2000 and 2007, claimed the lives of eight Turks, a Greek man and a policewoman. In November, German authorities discovered that the murders were carried out by members of an extreme right-wing group called the National Socialist Underground.
Many observers see a strong connection between neo-Nazi music and far-right violence in general. In its latest annual report, the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution called the far-right music scene an essential tool to bring in new recruits.
“The authorities really have to keep an eye on that scene,” said Peter Ohlendorf, the filmmaker behind the documentary, which had its world premiere here last week at the Berlin international Film Festival. “This kind of music is what we call an entry drug.”
The film’s undercover video was provided by a German reporter who goes by the pseudonym Thomas Kuban. Using a camera hidden in his shirt buttonhole, Kuban infiltrated neo-Nazi gatherings and gave his footage to news media. In a few cases, arrests were made as a result.
Much of the footage shows sweaty skinheads branded with swastika tattoos lounging around amid swirling smoke with sloshing beers. Skinheads are seen raising their arms in the banned Hitler salute and chanting, “Sharpen the long knives on the sidewalk, slide the knife into the Jewish body. Blood must flow … We s— on the freedom of this Jew republic.”