Neo-Nazis are miscounted, spy says German groups, skinheads align

April 20, 1993|By Newsday

NEW YORK -- For six months, Israeli free-lance journalist Yaron Svoray, working for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, infiltrated a number of neo-Nazi groups in Germany.

Yesterday, Mr. Svoray surfaced at a news conference sponsored by the Wiesenthal Center to describe his experiences and to assess the strength of the German neo-Nazis and their skinhead partners.

Mr. Svoray, a former police detective in Israel, used the alias Ron Furey to pose as an Australian journalist seeking to interview leaders of Germany's neo-Nazi movement for a non-existent rightist publication.

"I traveled from the lowliest skinheads who took me out to show how they beat Turks. . . to the leaders of [separate] neo-Nazi groups," he said.

Mr. Svoray said that he "trolled the movement" for the Wiesenthal Center and arrived at several major conclusions.

The German government seriously underestimates the number of active neo-Nazis, he said. Again and again, Mr. Svoray said he found that official German reports might put membership of a particular neo-Nazi organization in the low hundreds, while he estimated the true strength at more than a thousand.

He learned, he said, that Wolfgang Juchem, a retired former "spymaster for the German Army" who maintains relations with respectable right-wing parties, is "a leading candidate to be the leader of extreme Nazi groups" when they become unified.

"And he is not even listed as a neo-Nazi by the government," Mr. Svoray added.

In the German city of Hesse, and in other cities, Mr. Svoray said, police tip off neo-Nazis to planned raids. And when non-involved German civilians leave the scene after the arrest of skinheads for attacks on Turks and other foreigners, "police release the skinheads with a smile and a wink."

Also, he said, the German groups are connected to U.S. neo-Nazi organizations, and attempt to raise money from American sympathizers.

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