Apfel, who has been the new chairman of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) since November, says that his party finally wants to appeal to ordinary citizens and to address their concerns, fears and hardships. The NPD, he says, is a party that comes from the center of the population and is for the center of the population.
But, in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, a very different face of the party is on display — one that reveals Apfel’s rhetoric for the charade it is.
The NPD’s office there is on an arterial road in the town of Grevesmühlen. The local branch of the party has its headquarters on a commercial strip occupied by the likes of the local construction yard, a carpet store and a Mercedes dealership. The black, white and red flag of the German Reich flying above the property identifies the NPD office, which is surrounded by a 2-meter (6.5-foot) fence topped with barbed wire. Behind the fence is a watchtower, complete with floodlights, next to a building with bars on the windows.
The Germanic Elhaz rune, the symbol of the Third Reich’s “Lebensborn” program, which supported the production of racially pure Aryan children, hangs above the entrance.