Right-wing extremist “Atomwaffendivision Deutschland” remains active

Immediately after the claims that the right-wing terrorist “Atomwaffen Division” (AWD) in the US is disbanding, the “Atomwaffendivision Deutschland” (AWDD) published a statement and is still active. Since then, the AWDD is disseminating antisemitic and racist material online, in which it calls for the murder of Jews and Muslims. In the past, almost identical images were spread on leaflets in several German cities.  

Supporters of the militant neo-Nazi network AWD have been responsible for at least five murders in the US since 2015. Already in early 2018, the German offshoot of the neo-Nazi network announced its existence in a video. Since then, references to the AWD have appeared repeatedly in Germany on leaflets, in social media and in emails.1

The AWDD published in their telegram channel, which was created on March 18, 2020, a “German translation of the Atomwaffendivision Program” and two sound recordings in German and English. In an audio file, which was published on the same day with description “official statement of AWDD regarding the dissolution of the American cells”, a distorted voice can be heard saying in English: 

„This is a message from Atomwaffendivision Deutschland. We are very sad about what happened to our American comrades, that they were forced to disband their cells. But we here in Germany have remained practically untouched. We have successfully managed to arm people for a coming war and freedom from the greedy hands of the system, and we want to continue to do so. So we stay here. Clearly. Atomwaffendivision remains active in Germany. Sieg Heil.“2

The 12-page document published one day later, entitled “Atomwaffen Division Deutschland Programm”, contains ideological as well as strategic considerations and mentions “rules of conduct”, “recruitment requirements” and National Socialist “compulsory reading” such as Adolf Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” or James Mason’s book “Siege”. In terms of content, the document differs only slightly from the English version of the “AWD Program”, which was published in the same channel. Solely references to “compulsory reading” were extended by German National Socialist literature. Several times Jews are named as the enemy: “We are not only in a dangerous battle against the Jews but with our very own.” Like numerous right-wing terrorists before, the AWDD also refers to the militant forms of organization such as “lone wolves”, “small cells” and “leaderless resistance”. 

Fig. 1: Image with inscription “6 million Jews? We wish! Is that a challenge? The Holocaust did not happen, but should have happened. “, published on 18.3.2020 via Telegram.

Besides the glorification of National Socialism, Holocaust denial and the call for the mass murder of Jews, two graphics with the call “Kill Muslims!” depict precise killing scenarios. In the first image a person wearing a skull mask is swinging out with an axe to strike a person praying in front of a mosque. The second image shows the same masked person performing a decapitation with a knife.

Fig. 2: Image “Kill Muslims” published on 21.3.2020 via Telegram.
Fig. 3: Image “Kill Muslims” published on 21.3.2020 via Telegram.

Both images, along with other leaflets mentioning the AWD, were previously spread in various German cities.3 In Berlin, they were first distributed in November 2018 in a library of the Humboldt University. The second image was found on flyers in the library of the Goethe University in Frankfurt in April 2019.4 On the back of the numbered flyers were calls for the murder of rabbis and imams. In June 2019, unknown persons dropped a slightly modified version with the call “Muslim die” into mailboxes of individuals in Mülheim, Cologne.5 
These and other visuals in German show similarities to the work of a Canadian graphic designer in terms of image composition, visual language and the fonts and textures used. This designer is known under the username “Dark Foreigner” and produced numerous graphics for the AWD in the past.6 The designs are similar to those of illustrations already published in 2017 on the website atomwaffendivison.org. A total of 18 different graphics with German content have been published on the Telegram channel since March 2020 (as of July 2020). It can be assumed that the most recent images were produced by different individuals, as they differ greatly in design and distribution. At least three graphics are exact translations of English versions. Most of the graphics currently only exist with German wording. Some of them have also been translated into Russian and distributed on various social media platforms by the “Atomwaffen Division Russland” (AWDR) and by several individuals.

Further material and information on request.

  1. Baumgärtner, Maik; Diehl, Jörg; Epp, Alexander; Höfner, Roman; Knobbe, Martin; Röbel, Sven; Wiedmann-Schmidt, Wolf; Winston, Ali (2019): Trans-Atlantic Hate Neo-Nazi ‘Atomwaffen Division’ Spreads Fear in Germany, in: SPIEGEL, 13.11.2019, https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/neo-nazi-group-atomwaffen-division-takes-root-in-germany-a-1295575.html, last accessed: 10.07.2020. 

  2. Transcription audio file (duration: 0:49 min.), published on 18.03.2020 via Telegram. In the German audio file the voice says: „Dies ist eine Nachricht von der Atomwaffendivision Deutschland. Wir sind sehr traurig darüber, dass unsere amerikanischen Kameraden gezwungen waren, ihre Zellen aufzulösen. Jedoch sind wir hier in Deutschland praktisch unberührt geblieben. Wir haben es geschafft, mehrere Leute für den kommenden Kampf zu rüsten und von den gierigen Händen des Systems zu befreien. Wir wollen damit fortfahren. Wir in Deutschland werden aktiv bleiben – bis zum bitteren Ende. Sieg Heil!”, (Transcription audio file (duration: 0:42 min.), published on 18.03.2020 via Telegram. 

  3. In detail: Simone Rafael (2019): Was ist die “Atomwaffen Division”? 4.11.2019, https://www.belltower.news/rechtsterrorismus-was-ist-die-atomwaffen-division-92643/, last accessed: 10.7.2020. 

  4. See also: Kleine Anfrage von Stefan Müller und Yanki Pürsün vom 03.06.2019 Atomwaffendivision Deutschland und Antwort von Minister des Innern und für Sport (Hessen), http://starweb.hessen.de/cache/DRS/20/1/00731.pdf, last accessed: 14.7.2020. 

  5. Schriftlicher Bericht des Ministers des Innern (NRW) für die Sitzung des Innenausschusses am 04.07.2019 zu dem Tagesordnungspunkt “Flugblatt der rechtsextremen “Atomwaffendivision Deutschland” in Köln-Mülheim, https://www.landtag.nrw.de/portal/WWW/dokumentenarchiv/Dokument/MMV17-2244.pdf, last accessed: 12.7.2020 

  6. Vgl. Mack Lamoureux, Ben Makuch (2018): Atomwaffen, an American Neo-Nazi Terror Group, Is In Canada, in: Vice, 19.6.2018, https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/a3a8ae/atomwaffen-an-american-neo-nazi-terror-group-is-in-canada, zuletzt aufgerufen: 10.7.2020.