Athens: After a trial that lasted more than five years, a Greek court ruled Wednesday that the Golden Dawn neo-Nazi party is a criminal organization. It convicted 68 party members of crimes including murder and attempted murder. The
The party emerged some four decades ago. A Hitler-praising former army commando, Nikos Michaloliakos, founded Golden Dawn in the 1980s as a violent fringe party of racist, xenophobic Holocaust deniers. Michaloliakos once claimed that there were no gas chambers in Auschwitz.
Huge crowds massed outside the courtroom in Athens, waving banners that read “Nazis in Prison.” The crowds roared after each guilty verdict was announced.
During Greece’s debt crisis, which destroyed the country’s economy, many Greeks were left destitute and angry. Golden Dawn tapped into that anger, rising from the fringes and winning 18 seats in parliament in 2012.
Golden Dawn members celebrated those political victories by shouting “Blood, Honor, Golden Dawn!” adapting a Nazi slogan. The following year, on Sept. 13, 2013, Golden Dawn members stabbed to death a Greek anti-fascist musician, Pavlos Fyssas, who sang under the stage name Killah P. After the 34-year-old performer’s murder, his grieving mother, Magda Fyssa, pushed for the government to open a criminal inquiry into Golden Dawn.
The trial began in April 2015. Fyssa attended all 454 sessions. When the three judges convicted Golden Dawn members of murdering her son, she burst into tears and pumped her fists, looking up at the sky. “You did it, Pavlos! You did it, my son!” she shouted.
Meanwhile, sharing the news of the Greek court’s verdict, activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan tweeted: “Great! Many practices/ideologies of the Golden Dawn party in Greece are identical/similar to the practices of the BJP/RSS. When will these be declared so?”