Since the end of World War 2, Neo-Nazists seek to revive the Nazi doctrine, which include militant nationalism, fascism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and anti-Semitism. They have always been the most successful in Austria, the country where Hitler was born, due to the failure of complete denazification there.
A group of young neo-nazis attend an annual military festival in Karnburg, south of Vienna.
The Freedom Party of Austria (FP), who served as a shelter for ex-Nazis almost from its inception, now control 18.5% of the seats in the Austrian parliament.
Today, Austrians are shocked by a new survey which shows that one in ten young people think Adolf Hitler was not all bad at all and that he did some ‘good things’. Many are also anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner despite years of multi-cultural teaching in schools.
The country’s Kurier newspaper called the findings by the Youth Culture Research Institute ‘frightening’ - particularly as it is coupled with the general mistrust and dislike of non-Austrians.
Austria has struggled with its relationship to Nazis in general and Hitler in particular ever since 1945. The country was taken over by Hitler - himself an Austrian by birth - in 1938. Immediately after the war, Austrians retreated to a psychological comfort zone whereby they classified themselves as the ‘first victims’ of the Nazi regime.
Pollsters were astonished when 11.2 per cent of them said that Hitler ‘did many good things for the people’. 43.6 percent of them believe there are ‘too many Turks and Muslims’ in Austria, the predominant immigrant group. 18.2 per cent of them declared that ‘Jews have now, like before, too much influence over the world economy’.
Those who carried out the survey said that the most extremist views were expressed by the less educated - but they said that even well-educated youngsters harbored extremist viewpoints but expressed them in more ‘subtle’ ways.
In total, 40.5 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement that ‘for many immigrants, the Austrians are viewed as a lesser people’. This, again, is a viewpoint straight from the textbook of the original Nazis.
‘Political education has failed in Austria,’ Bernhard Heinzlmaier, chairman of the institute, said xenophobia had ‘arrived’ among the well-educated young people of the middle classes. He blamed years of ‘neo-liberally brainwashing’ for their viewpoints.