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Why Do German Neo-Nazis Love Crystal Meth So Much?

It's cheap, works wonders in a brawl, and it used to be distributed to Nazi troops during WWII.
Charlie Chaplin as a Meth Dictator

This article originally appeared on VICE Germany

If things were the way right-wing Germans say they should be, neo-Nazis would not consume drugs at all. Almost every radical right-wing organization in Germany strictly rejects the consumption of illegal substances. The NPD in the State of Saxony, for example, energetically demands that their members fight meth with the slogan "Keep Away from That Crystal Filth." They also claim that the drug is "cooked up in Czech kitchens and then illegally sold in Asian markets close to the border."


The NPD in Saxony thinks it's that simple: You just close all the annoying Asian supermarkets and then the "Czech death drug" will disappear. However, what they're overlooking (or keeping quiet) is that crystal isn't sold in packs of instant noodles; dealers sell it. And it looks like more than a few of these dealers are neo-Nazis.

Even if alcohol continues to dominate the thoughts and actions of right-wing circles, not all of these guys are adverse to weed, hash, or harder drugs. More and more right-wing radicals are being caught with illegal drugs, and crystal is very often what they're holding when they get busted.

And that's no surprise, really. The meth high fits right-wing ideology like a black, leather glove on an outstretched hand. Meth can make you as aggressive and insensitive to pain as alcohol does, but it doesn't incapacitate you in the same way. "I get so drunk before a football game that they don't let me in. If I take a line of crystal, they don't notice a thing," an anonymous hooligan recently bragged in Die Welt.

More and more violence-prone hooligans are blaming their acts of excessive violence on the comedown from meth. Christopher R—a hooligan who was involved in the nearly deadly attack on the police officer Daniel Nivel in 1998, was arrested with nine pounds of crystal precursor, as well as 230 pounds of apaan (an amphetamine precursor) and six ounces of coke. The former "Dynamo Berlin" hooligan and ex-Hells Angel fled to the comforts of Mallorca, and it is reported that he has been running his business from there.


Meth is basically the perfect performance enhancer for a proper brawl. It's getting more and more popular with fans of Thor Steiner and Ansgar Aryan—two local apparel brands favored by German neo-Nazis and right wingers. That's probably why Daniel K., the former head of Nazi clothing label Ansgar Aryan, had to resign after being convicted of dealing meth. He wanted to preserve the brand's clean image.

Lars S., a former member of the NPD and later leader of the Freien Netz Nordsachsen cadre and administrator of a Nazi-devotional dispatch, is currently serving a multi-year prison sentence with his like-minded comrades. The radical was busted in 2012 with half a kilo of meth after his driver was caught with ten ounces. Before the bust, he was considered to be a confidant of Thüringen's NPD deputy, Maik Scheffler.

Pervitin. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

One reason for their affinity to crystal could be a romanticization of "Nazi- speed" within the scene. The Germans were doping with Pervitin during World War Two, which no doubt helped drive their extermination campaign through Eastern Europe. Pervitin is methamphetamine in pill form and was actually prescribed until 1988. Seventy-five years ago, "Stuka Tablets," "Tank Chocolates," and "Hermann Göering Pills" all contained Pervitin, and were all included in the basic equipment given to German troops.

There are at least three letters from post-WWII German writer Heinrich Böll in which he asked his family for a fresh supply of drugs. "Service is stalwart, and you have to understand if I later on only write to you every two to four days. Today I'm mainly writing for Pervitin." he wrote in one of the letters.


According to Bostonian psychiatrist Dr. Nassir Ghaemi, Hitler's amphetamine consumption was responsible for aggravating his bipolar episodes. Hermann Göring's voracity for opiates and speed meanwhile, was legendary during his lifetime.

However, a single dose back then was much smaller than one a user might take today. An average line of crystal contains 40 to 50 milligrams of the active ingredient; one dose of Pervitin in Nazi times had only 2.4 milligrams of methamphetamine. If the Wehrmacht had been taking the amounts that crystal users take today, they would have quickly deteriorated into a troop of fucked-up junkies. Whether the World Cup champions of 1954 were really only injecting vitamins, we'll probably never know.

Evidence that neo-Nazis weren't just indulging in crank but were financing their activities by selling methamphetamine was alarming enough that Katharina König, a member of Thüringen's state parliament who belongs to the left-wing party Die Linke, sent an inquiry to the state government in 2012 titled, "Drug Dealing in Thüringen's Neo-Nazi Scene."

It will be exciting to see whether Die Linke will be in the position to shed some more light on the right-wing drug quagmire now that they are the governing party in Thüringen. Five right-wing dealers have been busted in Thüringen and neighboring Northern Saxony in October 2014 alone. That's not counting the 63 pounds that were found on Uwe N., a neo-Nazi from Colditz.

A minister in Saxony, Kerstin Ködlitz (also of Die Linke) recently alluded to evidence of cross-financing the right-wing scene with crystal cash there. "These aren't individual cases anymore, a suspicious cluster is looming in Saxony." Köditz would also like to present an inquiry to Saxony's government.

In front of this backdrop, the recent right-wing agitation of Thüringen's NPD about "Vietnamese drug mafias" seems even more bigoted. However, one could argue that they aren't just publishing this material for racist reasons, but that they also may have economic interests to protect.