Did the Nazis enjoy killing?

Youth cultures in Germany

The punks quickly realized that the use of Nazi symbolism was particularly effective. Because of their short hair and the preference for "military" clothing, they were already suspected of being at least "right-wing".

The famous "God Saves the Queen" flag, owned by Sex Pistols member Sid Vicious, graced the wall of his New York hotel. (& copy AP)

"These people occupied everything that meant protest. So I had to deal with them. That meant going into a left-wing bookstore and saying: 'Heil Hitler, Comrade.'" (Padeluun, sporadic member of Minus Delta +, loc. cit., p. 73). The punks quickly realized that the use of Nazi symbolism was particularly effective. Because of their short hair and the preference of some for "military" clothing and accessories, they had already come under suspicion of being "fascists" or at least "right wing". Quite a few punks apparently made every effort to confirm this prejudice: swastikas were painted on T-shirts, SS symbols on leather jackets, bands gave themselves strange names such as Alte Kameraden, Blitzkrieg, Stukka Pilots, SS Ultrabrutal, Napalm or Blut + Eisen , Song titles were called "Party in der Gaskammer" (Middle Class Fantasies) or "Dachau Disco" (Cretins). In fact, they weren't neo-Nazis. For the punks, the ironic play with the taboo Nazi symbol represented a stylistic device to elicit exactly those reactions of intolerance from the indignant that they suspected behind the smiling facade of tolerance. "Punk was at first the finest irony. 'No Future' - those were ironic statements for me. I never believed in that. I was very positive about the future. This ambiguous humor was often not understood. That with the swastika around the area run, was a symbol of cultural liberation, many never got it. " (Moritz Reichelt, op. Cit., P. 85)

"We made a lot of stupid, rough Nazi jokes. Because that also carried this energy on. At that time, Germany felt like a padded living room world with the fat, cigar-smoking old Nazi boss in it. If you sat on any part, you felt that you sit on synthetic leather with foam rubber in it. And when the guy talks to you, you felt that there were still some brown principles in it. But that that couldn't get through any more than the foam rubber through the synthetic leather. That was the general atmosphere. Not just in terms of the music, but from the whole of life in Germany. That was something covered up and unhealthy. And to get that out, I was fine. At least until the older ones came with political awareness. They then told us that is tasteless. " (Franz Bielmeier, born 1960, editor of the first German punk fanzine The Ostrich, op. Cit., P. 42f.)

Punk was deliberately destructive. It was about the destruction of hypocritical taboos and ideologies, not factual criticism, suggestions for improvement or even the offer of a new moral. Punk had no solutions to offer, no visions for the future, at least not those that anyone would really like to experience. Punk did not want to reform, but to destroy, including the marijuana-fogged cuddly utopias of the left. "I'm so hungry, I'm so cold / I want to go back to Buchenwald." Punks no longer believed in reform-open, democratic Germany. After all: We are in the late seventies, at a time characterized by professional bans, a mercilessly whipped through nuclear policy, a paranoid terrorist hunt, which, quite a few feared, was in the process of abolishing them to "protect democracy". "This 'Germany in autumn', that was the basic mood. Suddenly - through this hunt for the RAF and the resulting tightening of the entire legislation - you saw the real situation." (Frank Fenstermacher, born 1955, member of Der Plan and Fehlfarben and operator of the Attak label, op. Cit., P. 72)

Of course, punk was oppositional. Subversive. Antifascist despite a few "Nazi punks" in their own ranks. Left? Not necessarily. The first punk generation was more diffusely anarchist or anti-political than traditionally left-wing. Although punks became active in large numbers in various political contexts in the course of the fragmentation of punk culture into punks, new wavers, dark wavers / goths and above all skinheads from around 1980 (went to anti-Nazi demonstrations, occupied vacant houses, very much actively involved in the movement for self-administered youth centers, etc.), they defended themselves, even if only partially successfully, against too intrusive attempts to embrace political organizations. Parties and cadre groups, but also alliances such as "Rock Against Racism" or the autonomous movement that awoke in the 1970s, have a fatal tendency to discipline their members and sympathizers. But punks loved their status as a civic terror far too much to subordinate it to any political cause; the desire for incalculable provocation was an indispensable fun factor in punk culture.

"There was an interview with the Clash in which one of them said, 'If I see a cow, I might throw up.' It was like this: bang! "Lick my ass with your stupid nature. We live here in cities!" Hence this text from me, 'industrial girl', where two people make love next to a nuclear power plant, and it beeps. " (Thomas Schwebel, born 1959, guitarist and lyricist at S.Y.P.H. and the late lunch break and Fehlfarben, op. Cit., P. 89)

Bored by the chatty seriousness of the "left", there was only one way for the punks to live out their non-conformism: through biting irony and the refusal of any serious dialogue.

"If you talked to hippies, after five minutes it was guaranteed to be about nuclear power, and after ten minutes you had such a gloomy view of the world that you wanted to kill yourself. And that's why punk was so necessary. That's when I realized there was also other people who are bothered by it. " (Moritz Reichelt, born 1955, singer of Plan, op. Cit., P. 83)

Punk was aggressive. Punk was nihilistic. But punk was never, even in its darkest facets, as depressive as the average vegan flat share, as demonstratively tired of life as grunge, the alternative misery rock of the 1990s. "No Future", the ultimate trademark of the punks, is probably one of the most misunderstood messages (even by many punks from the 2nd generation). "There's no future", the Sex Pistols sang in "God Save The Queen", but the line of text in the song continues: "... for you". Elsewhere it says, and thus clearing up any misunderstandings: "There is no future in England's dreaming." Because: "We're the future, your future." You are broken, you have no future. Because look at us: we are your mirror images. The future and hope of your country. Your future! Punk didn't mean: The world is sad, let's cry for a while, but rather: When it's over soon anyway, let's have a lot more fun. And show those who have blocked our future, who are responsible for all the dirt on this planet, what they can do for us. The appropriation of public space was an important activity of the scene. Punks did not hide inconspicuously behind their own (occupied) four walls, but met preferably in pedestrian zones, on train station forecourts, on the steps of town halls and at the exits of public transport. There, where they irritated and annoyed the "normal citizens" the most.

"I stole bicycles. And earned my money with it. I had a lock pick and ran around Wilmersdorf, unlocked the cellar and stole bicycles. Once there was an art event in a disco. A Super 8 evening. And at that moment When the lights went out, we stole all handbags and all red wine bottles and everything that wasn't nailed down. And then we walked 500 meters to my home, not without demolishing three cars and smashing a fire alarm. No Future 'just great. I don't even know how many cars I burned and destroyed. I drove around at night and broke Mercedes Benze, threw in bricks or poured gasoline over it. I felt like the whole Baader-Meinhof gang together. We left the Schizzo with twelve people and said: 'Now we're going to break everything on Niedstrasse.' Then we went through there like crazy and dismantled the whole street. That was great fun - walking through a street and not taking the sidewalk to walk, but the cars themselves. The next day the BZ said: 'Die Police are looking for a little man in a hat. ' That was me." (Ben Becker, born 1964, actor, singer and ex-punk, loc. Cit., P. 193f.) Punk was (and is) not a militant youth culture, but unlike the hippies or later in techno, it was not generally frowned upon, his Letting go of aggression. Not only vandalism against bourgeois status symbols such as expensive cars, fur coats, fine restaurants etc., but also fights were part of everyday life in the scene from the start. "Especially on the weekends, 200 or 300 Teds came by regularly. And then there were real battles. Because you had heard from England that you did it like that. That was still without knives and such jokes. That was more of a sporting spirit. And us were really proud when we had won for a change. Besides, it was just chic if you had survived with a black eye. You could live off a black eye for a few days. " (Jäki Eldorado, born 1958, bassist, among others, of the second Nina Hagen Band, today manager, among others, of 5 Sterne Deluxe, op. Cit., Pp. 207f.)

Punk was a fun culture, and the focus was - in addition to the music - the staging of oneself. "Climbing into the subway in the morning is always like going on stage: the curtain goes up, bang, and I know that all eyes are on me. And then I turn around in a flash, and then you see the heads, bang, zack, zack away. You can play a great game. A new feeling on the street, always on the stage ... "(in: Penth / Franzen 1982, p. 192) the media came, no one knew how cleverly to use the media for themselves.


Penth, Boris / Franzen, Günther: Last Exit. Punk - life in the dead heart of the city. Reinbek 1982.

Teipel, Jürgen: Waste your youth. A documentary novel about German punk and new wave. Frankfurt am Main 2001.