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Neo-Nazi leader addressed German army officers in 1995

FRANKFURT, Dec. 8 (JTA) — The revelation that a leading neo-Nazi gave a training lecture to army officers has rocked the German army — and forced German officials to scramble to respond. The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported in its most recent issue that neo-Nazi leader Manfred Roeder gave a lecture in 1995 at an army officer’s academy in Hamburg. The revelation was the latest in a spate of neo-Nazi scandals that have hit the the Bundeswehr, the German army, in recent months. Last week, the Defense Ministry confirmed reports that six army parachuters held a party in an office decorated with a Nazi flag and pictures of Hitler. Prosecutors are investigating the incident. Meanwhile, prosecutors continue to investigate the production of an amateur film by army soldiers that glorifies neo-Nazi violence. Roeder delivered his lecture on the “Relocation of Ethnic Germans in Russia in the area of Koenigsberg.” Together with other right-wing extremists, Roeder is striving to re- establish the German culture and language in the Russian region of Kaliningrad, which was once a part of Germany called Koenigsberg. The group claims to have resettled up to 20,000 ethnic Germans who were living in remote regions of the former Soviet Union to Kaliningrad in the past few years. The Russian government has forbidden Roeder and three other German neo-Nazis from entering Kaliningrad because of a newspaper advertisement they published last year which claimed that “the idea of war guilt [of the Germans] is a demonic modern invention.” On Monday, the German Defense Minister announced disciplinary measures against a colonel who was responsible for the invitation. He also suspended a lieutenant-general who headed the academy at the time of the incident. A spokesman for the ministry confirmed on German public television that Roeder’s group was deemed a humanitarian organization and received free materials from the Bundeswehr. Opposition members in the German Parliament demanded a parliamentary session to review the incident and called for Defense Minister Volker Ruehe’s resignation. As a high-school student, Roeder attended a boarding school run by the SS. In 1980, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role in planning arson attacks against foreigners.