German rock band tried on tough neo-Nazi charges

Associated Press, June 214, 2003

BERLIN (AP) — Three members of a German skinhead rock band went on trial Tuesday charged with spreading hate through songs that attack Jews and foreigners, prosecuted by federal attorneys to show that the government is serious about cracking down on neo-Nazi music.

Each of the members of the Landser — an old German word for a foot soldier — is accused of forming a criminal organization, an unusually severe charge for the alleged offenses that carries a maximum five-year prison term.

Prosecutor Wolfgang Siegmund accused them of propagating an “Aryan revolution,” producing CDs in the United States, Sweden, Britain and Poland to skirt postwar German laws outlawing publication of neo-Nazi materials.

The defendants — band leader Michael Regener, 38; bassist Andre Moehricke, 25, and drummer Christian Wenndorff, 27 — refused to respond to the charges in a Berlin court Tuesday.

Two of them sported shaved heads, and none of them showed any emotion as the charges were read.

The band members were arrested in Berlin in 2001 as part of a German crackdown on the far right to combat rising neo-Nazi crime.

Prosecutors have said the albums contained “racist, nationalistic and anti-Semitic tirades of hate” and called for violence against foreigners, Jews and people with other political ideas.

Landser CDs include “Ran an den Feind,” or “Get the enemy,” where the title song calls for bombing Israel. Other tunes glorify one of Adolf Hitler’s top aides, Rudolf Hess, and in the case of “Grandpa was a Sturmfuehrer” pay tribute to a grandfather who was a Nazi SS officer.

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