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Humanity and ideologies between National Socialism and right-wing extremism

The International Tracing Service (ITS) and Project Red Line offered a workshop on 14-15 March 2012 entitled Decisions: Humanity and ideologies between National Socialism and right-wing extremism. “Our aim was to bring the two topics of National Socialism and right-wing extremism together and see them from different perspectives,” said seminar leader Reiner Becker from Project Red Line. “It was worthwhile and won´t be a one-off.”

Educators, social workers, police officers, youth welfare service staff and members of advisor networks were among the 16 participants. The training examined prejudices against minorities as the foundation for a right-wing worldview and recognized continuities and differences of National Socialists on right-wing extremist ideology. It also looked at how youth join or leave the right-wing extremist scene and at one´s own behavior and actions to determine which prevention strategies can be found in everyday life.

“These are the same contemptuous and inhuman pictures and prejudices on which National Socialism and right-wing extremism are based,” Becker emphasized. “Using the biographies of victims in the ITS archives, we show the young people where ideologies can lead, so it is no longer abstract to them.” To that end, a long term-cooperation is desirable. “We are still in the early days of positioning the ITS in this area, but it´s important that we start,” said Dr. Susanne Urban, head of research at the ITS. After a member vote, the ITS has joined the advisor network in Hesse, which offers an intervention program to combat right-wing extremism.

It can be a lengthy and creeping process for youths to join the right-wing scene. Young people are often surrounded by images denigrating others based on their race, religion, ual orientation or social background. The process of joining the scene could be stopped by parents, educators, social workers, police and judicial authorities if they discuss the youths´ individual decisions. Hartmut Ide from the Bad Wildungen police department said the training showed that there are many opportunities to do preventive work. “I have learned how to deal with this profound and complex topic.”       

“The ITS materials and documents are easy to integrate into my educational work,” said Angelika Ribler from Hesse´s sport youth club. “It is a real treasure chest which has moved me deeply.” Her colleague Stephan Born from the Jakob Association was also impressed: “The training has reinforced what I´m currently doing. Every single document in the ITS archive is a testimony. To be able to use this material in my work with young people is an exciting challenge, and I can recommend the ITS´s educational aspects to everyone.”

About Project Red Line

Project Red Line (“helping young people leave the scene before they join”) offers advice, training and information for parents and those close to young people who display right-wing tendencies. The combination of advice for parents, support in removing the young person from the right-wing scene and educational work with the young people makes possible a more complete view and a coordinated means of intervention in stopping the creeping process of youths joining the right-wing scene.