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Gain by Neo-nazi Party in Bavarian Elections Stirs Fears in Germany

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A revival of an aggressive form of German nationalism was foreseen in political circles here today following the capture by the extreme rightist National Democratic Party of 15 out of 204 seats in the Bavarian legislature as a result of yesterday’s state elections. Leaders of the party had predicted they would win 14 seats.

The National Democratic Party — considered as a neo-Nazi group — obtained in yesterday’s elections in Bavaria at least 10 percent of the total vote. This was considered here a very big victory, especially coming after the success of this party in the Hesse state elections two weeks ago. The fact that the neo-Nazis gained such strength first in Hesse and now in Bavaria despite the fact that there is still no unemployment in West Germany, is taken as an indication that neo-Nazism is gaining more and more ground in the country.

Former Vice-Chancellor Eric Mendes told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent here today that he is sure that the National Democratic Party will have similar gains in the forthcoming state elections in all other sections in the country. Leaders of the National Democratic Party, speaking on television, today denied that they are Nazis or that they are protecting Nazi war criminals. They asserted that they are a “democratic party” and resented the fact that they are labeled as neo-Nazis in the German press.

BONN SEES NO EVIDENCE OF ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE NEO-NAZI PARTY

At a press conference today, Karl Gunther von Hase, the spokesman of the Bonn Government for the press, said that the gains of the National Democratic Party in the Bavarian elections should not be overestimated in foreign countries, nor should they be underestimated in Germany. “German democracy,” he said, “has proven its stability in recent years and could handle extremist elements.”

Asked whether the National Democratic Party was not anti-Semitic, von Hase replied that there was no evidence that the neo-Nazi party as such was anti-Semitic. To a further question as to whether speeches made on behalf of the National Democratic Party did not prove its anti-Semitism, he said that this did not prove that the party as a whole was anti-Semitic.

He told the foreign correspondents attending the press conference that the National Democratic Party has 18,000 members. The general feeling in the country is that despite attempts on the part of the Bonn Government to minimize the successes of the neo-Nazi party, further gains of the latter are to be expected.

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