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Ex-head of W. German Republicans Says Party is Haven for Neo-nazis

Former Waffen SS officer Franz Schoenhuber has accused the extreme right-wing Republican Party that he used to head of becoming a haven for neo-Nazis.

Schoenhuber, 68, made the accusation after he was expelled from the party for allegedly trying to injure its reputation.

He charged Monday that his successors have surrendered to racists and other extremists who infiltrated the party, and said they allowed it to be used by neo-Nazi activists trying to influence large numbers of politically uncommitted citizens.

Under Schoenhuber’s leadership, the Munich-based Republicans scored some unexpected electoral successes in recent years, including national balloting for the European Parliament.

The party drew votes away from Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s conservative Christian Democratic Union.

But its extreme nationalistic platform became largely irrelevant as East and West Germany moved swiftly toward unification.

The Republicans suffered a succession of humiliating defeats in recent local and regional elections and are now marginal to German politics.