The old generation of far-right publishers still exists in Germany. One of them is his DSZ-Verlag, founded by the late Gerhard Frei, whose flagship newspaper is his National-Zeitung. Another famous example is the Tübingen-based publisher Grabert Verlag and its subsidiary Hohenrain.
These publishers have been monitored for many years by the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Their approach is backwards. Their publications glorify the Nazi past, promote historical revisionism, and spread hate speech.
But this perspective seems less appealing to the new far-right generation. Germany’s “new right” wants to reach a younger and wider audience. According to political scientist Ulrike Gero, these activists have set up their own platform through which they aim to wage a “new civil war.”
READ MORE: European anti-Semitism documentary to screen despite controversy
Newright is based across small publishers, internet forums and newspapers that often disseminate esoteric content.
These include the publishing house Antaeus, named after the magazine founded by German author Ernst Junger, who was often criticized for glorifying war as a transcendent experience.
One of Antaeus’ most recent publications was the work Phinis Germania (Latin title meaning “end of Germany”), which became the center of heated debate in Germany. The book was written by historian Rolf Peter Siefel, who committed suicide in September 2016, and was published posthumously.
The controversial collection of essays includes a section on how Germany dealt with the Holocaust, which a critic of the weekly Die Zeit called “deliberately obscene”. parts are also included.
A provocative work was selected as non-fiction of the month
Finis Germania was included in June’s non-fiction list of the month published by public broadcaster NDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung. Books are selected monthly by a jury of journalists.
In it, the judges of the newsweekly Der Spiegel unusually gave the work all points while warning that it was a “deliberately provocative” book, which is why it made the list. That is the reason.
As publishers of the list, NDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung have distanced themselves from recommending essays. It even decided to discontinue the monthly selection altogether in order to overhaul its book selection process.
Since then, Siefel’s book remains central to the current debate on anti-Semitism in Germany. Finis Germania has a portion dealing with the Holocaust, alongside a string of other serious crimes of the 20th century. The author also uses the expression “myth of Auschwitz”.
Experts therefore debate Siefel’s anti-Semitism and whether his writings relativize or deny the mass extermination of Jews in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Read more: Jewish Council says anti-Semitism is on the rise in Germany
For political scientist Herfried Münkler and historian Volker Weiss, the book is clearly anti-Semitic. Some, such as philosopher and author Rudiger Safransky, believe that the real scandal is to stir up such controversy over books through “negligent, hysterically guided debates.”
Free publicity for far-right publishers
Goetz Kubitschek, head of the publisher Antaeus, which leads the publication of Siefere’s work, must be enjoying the free publicity. In June, Finis Germania topped Amazon’s German-language bestseller list. It is also on Spiegel’s July nonfiction bestseller list.
The controversy surrounding Siefer’s work marks a profound social unrest. Right-wing, far-right, and anti-Semitic positions are not always recognizable at first glance, or even through publishing platforms.
Sieferle’s books are also distributed through Manuscriptum, one of three small publishers founded by Thomas Hoof. Hoof initially served as leader of the Green Party in North Rhine-Westphalia and until 2008 was the owner of Manufactorum, a company that “manufactures high-quality, durable goods,” according to the company’s description. ).
Hoof’s publishing and distribution company, Manuscriptum, also publishes works devoted to agriculture and forestry. But the publisher’s first goal now is to fight political correctness and immigration. This is why Manuscriptum has published the final works of Rolf Peter Siefel and started a new series of quarterly editions. It is a short essay with the obvious title, “Immigration Issues: The Incompatibility of the Social State and Mass Immigration.”
Controversial author as spokesman for the New Right
Author Akif Pirinci, best known internationally for his novel The Felidae, has been terminated from his contract with Random House after he publicly expressed his anti-Muslim and right-wing views in an incident. speech During a rally by the German nationalist group PEGIDA.
The author has published two books promoting Pirinci’s hatred, Deutsche von Sinnen – Frauen’s Rule, Homosexuality and Zwanderers (Crazy Germany: The Mad Cult of Women, Gays and Immigrants, 2014). was published in exile from Manuscriptum. ) and “Die grosse Verschwulung” (The Big Gayification, 2015).
READ MORE: Publisher Abandons Turkish-Born Pirinci Over PEGIDA Speech
His latest pamphlet Die Umvolkung Deutschlands (Assimilation of Germany) (“Umvolkung” is the term used by the Nazis) has been published by Antaeus. General bookstores are boycotting Pirinci’s books.
A new package that expresses right-wing ideas
Anti-Semitism is not always evident in the programs of right-wing publishers. For example, Kop Verlag’s selection combines books on health tips and outdoor survival with works that make immigration, hidden international conspiracies and democracy the root of all social problems.
The Identityist movement, part of the New Right, has also found creative ways to get its publications out there. Through a new internet platform with a young and trendy approach, we will build a European social his network where everyone can freely discuss. On the principle that freedom of expression and national values need to be defended, “politically incorrect” opinions are welcome. Anti-Semitic discrimination is usually replaced by Islamophobia.
Some publications available online and in print take seemingly serious journalistic approaches to promote racist views. One example is FreieWelt.net, published by Sven von Storch, husband of Alternative for Germany politician Beatrix von Storch. Another is Compact, run by former left-wing journalist Jürgen Elsesser, who now despises Chancellor Angela Merkel and her refugee policy.
In addition to the varying degrees of Islamophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and misogyny expressed in these publications, they all have another common enemy: “fake news.”