German far-right leader Schoenhuber dies at 82

29th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 November 2005, MUNICH - Franz Schoenhuber, a leader of Germany's far right for two decades, has died at the age of 82, an associate said Monday.

29 November 2005

MUNICH - Franz Schoenhuber, a leader of Germany's far right for two decades, has died at the age of 82, an associate said Monday.

Schoenhuber, who served in the Waffen SS, the Nazi Party's private army, during World War II, founded a new far-right party, the Republicans, in 1983. There was shock worldwide in 1989 when it won German seats in the European Parliament.

The party also secured seats in the parliament of the city-state of Berlin. It had no further successes and fell into disarray. Schoenhuber then refused to lead it, leaving the party in 1995.

He came to renewed prominence last month when he stood in a federal parliament by-election in Dresden on behalf of another far- right group, the Nationalist Democratic Party (NPD), and won a handful of votes.

Schoenhuber had had a distinguished career in journalism before veering into far-right politics, and his more polished style stood out in a political neighbourhood where unsophisticated manners and neo-Nazi jargon usually set the tone.

His death Sunday, of a pulmonary embolism after a respiratory infection, was confirmed by Johann Gaertner, an associate and state chairman of the Republicans in Bavaria, southern Germany.

Bavarian born, Schoenhuber was editor of a Munich daily newspaper, TZ, then moved to local broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk as an executive editor. He was fired in 1992 for publishing a book glorifying his Waffen SS experiences.

In 1983, he founded the Republicans with other right-wingers. After leaving the party, he vainly attempted to establish a pan- European rightist movement and in 1998 campaigned for another German far-right party, the German People's Union DVU.

The various far-right groups have vainly tried for decades to win seats in Germany's federal parliament, but have always failed to achieve the minimum 5 per cent of the vote to qualify.

DPA

Subject: German news

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