German Extremist Attempts Comeback

Franz Schoenhuber, ousted former leader of West Germany’s extreme right-wing, purportedly neo-Nazi Republican Party, is making a strong bid for reinstatement at the party’s national convention in the Bavarian town of Ruhstorf.

Schoenhuber, a former Waffen SS officer, announced Sunday that he was a candidate for chairman of the party, which is based in Munich.

The party’s internal court ruled last week that his member privileges should be restored.

But Schoenhuber’s opponents are determined to defeat his comeback attempt. They claim that as party leader he had systematically injured its interests and reputation.

Schoenhuber accused his rivals of turning the party into a haven for old-line Hitlerites and neo-Nazi groups that want to re-establish a Germany based on the heritage of the Third Reich.

He himself wrote a book praising his service with the Waffen SS as a patriotic endeavor.

Schoenhuber has led the party’s generally successful campaigns in local and regional elections in recent years on platforms that combined extreme nationalism with xenophobia.

But the Republicans have done badly in more recent elections. The imminent unification of East and West Germany seems to have deprived it of its most potent issue.

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