Since the reunification of Germany in the fall of 1989, the world has witnessed the widespread and terrible growth of racial, xenophobic, and fascistic outbursts throughout the country.
Though widely reported in newspapers and magazines, this movement has thus far been too volatile for a sustained analysis to be possible. But now, after more than four years of investigation and research, Michael Schmidt - a German filmmaker and journalist - has produced the first thorough account of the neo-Nazis, both as a political force and as individuals. In the process, and at no small risk to his own safety, he has uncovered the extent of their network, their connections to similar organizations throughout the world and to mainstream German politics, as well as the ambivalent tolerance manifested toward them by the justice system, the police, and the media.
In extensive personal interviews, Schmidt allows the principal figures of the extreme right to express their views directly; and he explores the degree of cooperation between various factions in the firebombings, murders, and general strife. Moreover, The New Reich provides the background without which these skinhead shock troops cannot be understood: the growth of nationalism, the advent of historical revisionism about the Holocaust, and the transformation of the prodemocracy movement, after the collapse of East Germany, into violent fascism. What emerges is a portrait of a country wrestling with the ghosts of the past and a future that is socially and economically uncertain - issues that have enormous consequences for our own politics, both domestic and foreign.
Dramatic, detailed, and impassioned, The New Reich is timely and necessary reading for anyone interested in Germany, a changing Europe, or the late twentieth century's terrible potential for inhumanity and violence.
About the Author: Michael Schmidt is the producer of the film "The Truth Shall Make us Free: Inside the neo-Nazi Network," which is based on his extensive research on this subject.