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Ousted ‘moderate’ Chairman of Neo-nazi Party Backed by Court

The split inside the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) widened today, with temporary victory going to the party’s “moderate” national chairman, Fritz Thielen. A court in Bremen, to which Thielen appealed against a claim that he had been ousted from his leadership, granted an injunction, ruling that he is entitled “to continue in office for the time being.”

The injunction was against the extremist party’s faction led by the deputy national chairman, Adolf von Thadden, A group led by the latter had voted at a rump conference held in Frankfurt 10 days ago that Thielen had been “unseated.” Thielen not only petitioned for the injunction but, in interviews, also charged that the report about his being “unseated” and about his alleged expulsion from the NPD had been put out by von Thadden’s “right-wing clique.”

Meanwhile, a prominent West German trade union leader and a leading Social Democrat, whose party is part of the Government coalition, called on West Germany to mobilize public opinion and politics against the NPD, Otto Brenner, leader of the Iron and Steel Workers Union, one of the country’s largest trade unions, urged all political parties and organizations to “isolate the NPD in political life.” He stated that “there can never be anything in common between democratic and right-wing radical” groups.

Ernest Haar, chairman of the Social Democratic Party in Stuttgart, and a member of the Bundestag, the lower house of Parliament, called for the formation of groups inside the Social Democratic Party “to counter the influence of the NPD.”

From Stuttgart it was reported today that a 40-year-old schoolteacher, Dietrich Schuler, was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment there for glorifying Hitler and attacking democracy. Schuler had been convicted of committing hostile acts against the West German Constitution by writing in a pamphlet that “Hitlerism is Europe’s best chance.”

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