Neo-Nazis Recruiting Children, Teachers

Fox News/September 7, 2010

German authorities say neo-Nazi thugs are trying to brainwash toddlers with tactics reminiscent of the Third Reich, including applying to run day care centers, recruiting skinhead teachers and sneaking children's books praising Hitler into kindergartens, Der Spiegel reported Tuesday.

A state in eastern Germany has tried to combat the blitzkrieg of far-right recruiting activities by vetting teachers and forcing anyone setting up a daycare center to pledge allegiance to Germany's democratic constitution.

Concern is growing about the neo-Nazi movement taking over kindergartens as racist youth, responsible for attacks in the 1990s, now become parents "intent on rearing little skinheads," the European newsmagazine reported.

The pledge of allegiance, imposed by the government of the eastern German state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania, followed reports of neo-Nazis trying to take over the running of kindergartens, influence teaching in nurseries or get recruited as teachers.

In February the village of Bartow, in the northeast of the state, almost permitted a member of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), which glorifies Nazism, to take over a kindergarten that was on the verge of closing due to a lack of funds.

There have been other reports of skinhead parents bringing in racist children's books and demanding that photos of immigrant children be removed from classroom walls.

Concern is also growing that in some thinly populated regions there may be enough neo-Nazi parents to secure a majority on district school boards.

"Within the far-right scene there appears to be a more or less clear strategy to encourage young women to train for teaching and social work jobs because that offers an opportunity to spread nationalist ideology," said Heike Radvan, an educational scientist at the Berlin-based Amadeu Antonio Foundation, an anti-racism group.

Eastern Germany has been dogged by right-wing extremism ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall -- with some areas label "no-go zones" by immigration groups because of the number of assaults on people with dark skin.

None of Germany's 15 other regional states have plans to issue a similar decree ordering nursery operators to sign up to the constitution, and several anti-racism campaigners said it would not help prevent problems.

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