Droege joined the Western Guard and later organized for the Ku Klux Klan
Sitting in a Toronto hotel room in 1981, Wolfgang Droege told a reporter why he was preparing to invade the island of Dominica.
“You know me, I love the adventure and the excitement,” he said.
“I consider myself a little bit of a rebel in society. And, like, I’m not content to have a 9-to-5 job. I want to live a real life. You know, I want excitement and adventure in my life.”
His excitement and adventure came as the founder of the Heritage Front, Canada’s most notorious racist group, which he formed in 1989. And it came to an end yesterday when the 55-year-old was killed.
Born in 1949 in Forchheim, Germany, Mr. Droege spent time in his early years walking with his grandfather through the Bavarian woods. The older man would enthrall the eight-year-old with tales about the Third Reich and his friend Julius Streicher, a Nazi who spat on a U.S. hangman moments before his death in 1945 and yelled, “Heil Hitler!”
Adolf Hitler became an idol to Mr. Droege, who said in an interview that the Nazi leader was “misunderstood” and “inspiring.”
Mr. Droege moved to Canada with his mother when he was 13, after his parents’ marriage failed. He said in a 1993 interview that his mother feared for his life.
When he was 17 he returned to Germany to join the army, in a bid to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he was turned down, he said, because he was too young.
His father had been in the German air force during the Second World War.
Soon after returning to Canada, he joined the Western Guard, a white supremacist group, and also became a Canadian citizen. He was also an organizer with the Ku Klux Klan in British Columbia and Ontario and a member of the Nationalist Party, which merged with the Klan.
In 1981, he and nine other men were put in prison after a failed invasion of the island of Dominica. U.S. agents arrested 10 men as they prepared to set sail from New Orleans for the Caribbean island.
A U.S. federal agent testified that Mr. Droege was planning to set up a cocaine refinement plant and illegally export the drug to the United States. Mr. Droege, the group’s second in command, was convicted and sentenced to three years in a federal prison.
In 1985, Mr. Droege was charged in the United States with cocaine possession and carrying a concealed weapon onto an airplane. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, but paroled after four years and deported to Canada.