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The recent massacre in Norway got me thinking about whether I knew ‘any ordinary boys’ who’d be capable of committing such an act.The thought was prompted by an old friend sending me an email, asking me if I knew anything about Nelson, a young Kiwi who once lived in the same guesthouse as us in Weimar Germany.
Nelson was an articulate, polished and personable young man with Boy Next Door looks who could charm the socks off most people. He also happened to be Neo Nazi Aryan Supremist who shared many views and traits in common with Anders Breivik.
‘Those Absent Brains Draining The Nation ‘ was the title of an article I read about young Kiwis leaving their shores in droves to further their career prospects and broaden their horizons. So there was something quite intriguing about meeting a charismatic earnest young bloke labelling himself as a ‘conscientious objector’ to mainstream NZ society. Here was a forthright young Kiwi tackling political correctness with a bravado which invariably floored his predominantly ‘socially progressive’ German audience.
He diligently immersed himself in research, reading, digging up like minded souls on Internet forums, not unlike Breivik. Alongside studying Germanic culture and political history. He openly espoused being an exile from NZ due to it’s Rampant Reverse Racism and was contemptuous of the way meritocracy, in his opinion, was scorned in a system propping up immigrants- ethnic groups and indigenous cultures to the detriment of New Zealanders of European descent.
He told us that he was in Germany to immerse himself in classical Germanic culture. Goethe, Nietzsche and Thule Gesellschaft- an Aryan Nordic Supremacist secret society. But he was also stealthily reading Mein Kampf on line in the early hours of the morning when everyone else had gone to bed.You don’t meet too many forthright and outspoken young men who are willingly prepared to invite the scorn of their contemporaries and polite company as I witnessed him doing on many occasions. One evening sitting around a table we heard Beethoven’s 9th symphony- Ode to Joy being played on Public Radio and he came out with, “This piece of music was arguably the highest point reached in Western Civilization, if not all civilizations.”
A couple of twenty somethings just about pissed their pants, flabbergasted by this ‘pompous antipodean fossil.’
There was no denying his charisma, it was palpable. Even Germans of a ‘Leftist Liberal’ bent appeared captivated by the audacity and brashness of this Kiwi Holocaust denials. Several commented on his disarming manner,moreover how surprised they were to not reacting aggressively as he espoused his Aryan rants. He quickly gained a reputation as he willingly invited the scorn of “the apologists”, but there was no denying that he had captivated an audience intrigued and bewildered by the incongruity of a young New Zealander living in their city stirring up the countries sinister Nationalist Socialist-Nazi past. He regularly provoked locals with outbursts such as, “ I wish Germany would awaken and realize how great she really is, but it’s post war education system has systematically suppressed and destroyed it’s national identity through instilling a guilt complex which borders on being suicidal for it’s people .”
His listeners generally responded with a cocktail of rage, bewilderment and amusement, but they invariably kept on listening.
It dawned on me that our young Kiwi possessed one of those magnetic personalities which people are drawn to, regardless of their own political-ideological leanings. He had spun his charm and a number of the city’s young residents had been drawn into his circle.
I’d gained an insight into how would be charismatic leaders attract, influence and work their followers. It was becoming increasingly disturbing to observe his machinations and the inroads he was making, especially when he secured a job as an English teacher at an International school, which presented him with fertile grounds for recruiting.
During that period when we lived under the same roof he would invariably take young German music students under his wing and stealthily plant seeds of resentment surrounding “ the injustice of foreigners” competing for places in the city’s music conservatory.
“ They’re taking places away from Our People,” was one of his favourite lines as he went about stirring up discontent in amongst local students competing for limited places in the conservatory with mainly young Chinese and Koreans. The incongruity of a Kiwi using the words “our people” wasn‘t lost on the young Germans who became increasingly baffled by his agenda, albeit whilst continuing to be seduced by his charm.
I recall one evening being entertained by a young Chinese music student singing along to a Mendelssohn piano concerto in our guesthouse. It was a sublime rendition and the room was in awe of this young man’s voice. Nelson walked in during the performance and immediately stormed out, visibly livid. Later on that evening I confronted him with, ” so an Asian singing Germanic Overtures so beautifully really pissed you off Nelson ?”
He glared at me with utter contempt and replied, ” Mendelssohn was a Jew .”
I doubt that someone like Nelson could have been capable of committing such a heinous crime. But I’m sure countless Norwegians who had occasion to have met Anders Breivik would be grappling with, ‘ he never struck me as that kind of guy.’