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Shofar FTP Archive File: people//k/kuessel.gottfried/skins-austria

Newsgroups: alt.skinheads,alt.politics.white-power,alt.politics.nationalism.white,soc.culture.austria
Subject: ADL: Skinhead International; Austria  
Summary: The ADL's "Skinhead International: A Worldwide Survey
         of Neo-Nazi Skinheads"
Followup-To: alt.skinheads
Archive/File: pub/orgs/american/adl/skinhead-international/skins-austria
Last-Modified: 1995/08/15


Since the mid-eighties Austria's Skinhead scene, while small and
diffuse, has presented a threat to public order. In alliance with
the "hools" (hooligans), gangs of Skins have terrorized soccer
matches, disrupted youth centers and discos, and attacked random
victims on the street and at subway stops. On most weekends the
gangs gather at local pubs for drunken parties which frequently end
in games of "hunt the foreigners."

Reporting on the knifing of two pedestrians on a Sunday evening in
October 1990, a Viennese newspaper angrily noted that hardly a
weekend passed without some act of criminal violence. In 1992,
emboldened by events in Germany, the pace of such incidents
quickened. A few examples will illustrate the trend:

In Graz, Skinheads went on a rampage following the arrest of some of
their members by the police. Calling it "a revenge campaign," they
left a trail of wrecked autos, smashed shop display cases and
several distraught victims.

A band of neo-Nazis, including Skinheads, staged a provocative march
through Innsbruck. A number of brawls broke out, ending with one of
the neo-Nazis hospitalized with a skull fracture. Vowing revenge on
the "leftist vermin," the gang invaded the hospital and threatened
the staff. When police intervened, the gang left, shouting "Sieg
Heil" and giving the Hitler salute.

In Salzburg, two Skinhead thugs assaulted two 15-year-old Yugoslav
students by shooting gas pistols in their faces. Both victims
required hospitalization.

A gang of teenage Skinheads passing a synagogue on a Jewish holy day
screamed at the congregation, "Long Live the Fuehrer," "Down with
the Jewish Swine," and "Death to the Jews." The Skins were later
arrested and the ringleader sentenced to one year in prison.

The actual number of Skinheads in Austria is small in comparison
with the surrounding countries. Perhaps 150 to 200 constitute the
Skinhead scene and of these only a minority are activists. Because
of the numerical weakness, they have formed a close relationship
with the hooligans, resulting in a less politicized but more
violence-prone movement. According to the skinzine _Stahlfront_
(Steelfront), published in Steyr, the Skinheads number about 100 in
Vienna, of whom only a hard core of 30 can be counted on. Their
potential threat is enhanced by the 200 hooligans in the city with
whom they often join forces. The same skinzine notes that in Linz,
for example, the Skinhead presence is minimal, but the city is
"terrorized by a large number of hools."

There are small, isolated bands of Skinheads in Wels, the Tirol and
Steyr (a gang has recently re-emerged there led by the publisher of
the zine _Stahlfront_). The area around Graz (in particular the
towns of Leoben and Zeltweg) is favored by Skinheads, much to the
discomfort of the authorities. The Voralberg, next to Switzerland
and southern Germany, is also a region with a noticeable presence of
Skinheads. The town of Bregenz, near Lake Constance, for instance,
was the site of a concert in 1992, featuring the German Skin band
Stoerkraft and Dirlewanger from Sweden.

Austria has a native Skinhead music band, the Arbeiterfront (Labor
Front), whose members are frequently in jail for a continuous string
of violations. A second group, called Oisterreicher (word play on
"Austrian" using "oi," the term for Skinhead music), has disbanded.

                        Skinhead Awake

A half dozen skinzines have circulated of late in Austria. One zine,
_White Pride_, from Vienna, has been printed in English. The oldest
and most politically influential zine appears to be _Skinhead
Erwache_ (Skinhead Awake - Vienna). Other titles have been
_Aufstand_ (Revolt - Wels), _Pride of Austria_, _Heimatland_
(Homeland - Pottendorf), and the aforementioned _Stahlfront_

In addition to relying on hools to inflate their numbers, the
Austrian Skinheads depend largely on their German and other foreign
counterparts for activities and inspiration. On May 11, 1992, about
80 Skins, many coming from Germany and Luxembourg, gathered at St.
Poelten. A concert planned in Wels for August 31, 1992, at which
Skinhead bands from Hungary, Germany and England were to appear, was
canceled because the hall became unavailable. Instead, Austrian
Skins travelled to Remblinghausen in Germany for a giant open-air
concert with seven German Skin bands. Austrial Skinheads joined
their German comrades at demonstrations in Gottingen on May 17,
1992, in Bielefelt (where they met at the National Front Center) and
in Roth, where drunken Skins marched through the streets shouting
"Foreigners Out!"

Austrian Skinheads are also closely allied with Hungarian Skins.
Groups frequently travel to Budapest to dance at the popular Viking
Club, join the Hungarian hools at soccer matches, or meet with their
comrades for beer parties. The Hungarian Skin bands _Egreszseges
Fejbor_ (Healthy Skinhead) and Pannon Bulldog are highly popular and
T-shirts bearing their logos are avidly worn by Australian Skins.

Austria's Skinheads are favored by hardly any political groups
except Gottfried Kuessel's National Extra-Parliamentary Opposition
Party (VAPO). Kuessel, now in prison for his neo-Nazi activities,
has aggresively canvassed support among the Skinheads and his
literature is widely circulated in Skinhead ranks. The zine
_Skinhead Erwache_ carried on the front cover of issue No. 8 an old
Nazi drawing of marching stormtroops with the rune-eagle of
Kuessel's VAPO replacing the swastika. Despite his ideological
appeal, however, few Skins have actually applied for VAPO
membership. On the other hand, most of Kuessel's followers began
their right-wing activity as Skinheads.

While small, the Austrian Skinhead movement ought not to be ignored.
It forms part of the larger neo-Nazi network that has developed
between Austria and Germany and that believes in a future where
Austria is once again united with a resurgent Reich.
(Anti-Defamation League, 13-15)

                          Work Cited

Anti-Defamation League. The Skinhead International: A Worldwide
Survey of Neo-Nazi Skinheads. New York: Anti-Defamation League,
1995. Anti-Defamation League, 823 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY

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