Gerhard Frey, one of the most colourful characters of the German Extreme Right, has died one day after his 80th birthday. Frey, a famously rich businessman and right-wing journalist, began building his empire in the late 1950s. Over the decades, he published two rightist weeklies (which he was later forced to merge in a declining market), countless revisionist and openly racist books, and ran a mail-order service for Nazi memorabilia. He was one of only four persons who ever stood trial under a procedure called “Grundrechtsverwirkung”. Basically, the Federal Government tried to strip him of his right to freedom of speech (and also his right to vote, to stand in elections and to take public office) because – according to the government – he had abused these rights to incite racial hatred and glorify Nazism (the Federal Constitutional Court squashed this and all similar cases on the grounds of these measures being disproportionate).
Frey made various forays into politics, but was repeatedly rejected by Germany’s oldest relevant Extreme Right party NPD (although sat on the party’s leadership committee for a short while). Over the years, many a right-winger has accused him of being only in it for the money.
In the 1980s, he converted his German People’s Union DVU (“Deutsche Volksunion, essentially a right-wing book club) into a political organisation that during the decades successfully contested various land elections, only to tank abysmally once they had entered another land parliament. The DVU was never a proper party. Leaving the DVU immediately after assuming office, embezzling money or getting caught while downloading child porn in their parliamentary office was more or less de rigeur for its MPs.
For most of its existence, the DVU wholly depended on its party chair, Gerhard Frey, who had taken out considerable loans from Gerhard Frey, the publisher, to safeguard his position. As far as we know, there was never any meaningful political competition or genuine party life within the DVU, which has been dubbed a “virtual” or even “phantom” party. In 2009, Frey, already in his late 70s, finally stepped down from the leadership and dispensed with the money the party owed him, thereby paving the way for the eventual merger with its longtime rival NPD.
6 thoughts on “German Right-Wing Extremist Gerhard Frey Has Died”
Couldn’t agree more. In a specific way, the world was much better when our research was kind of niche 😉
I kind of miss the phantom party days. Occasional flash and then gone
Thank you for your valuable contribution to 20th century world history.
Frey was also a close, personal friend to US General Edwin Walker (resigned), the only US General to resign in the 20th century. They met when Walker commanded the 10,000 US troops of the 24th Infantry in Augsburg from December 1959 through April 1961. Walker resigned in October, 1961, as most reporters claim, for his right-wing political views.
More likely it was because the US Army newspaper, “Overseas Weekly” had been spying on his homosexual adventures in Germany. Walker sued them in German civil court and won. Then, in revenge on April 17, 1961, the “Overseas Weekly” made a military “shore flap” by accusing Walker of extreme right-wing tendencies, right there on its front page and center pages.
The US Pentagon did not care about Walker’s political views — but they could not tolerate a *scandal* so near to the Berlin Wall. So they removed Walker from his Command the very next day. Walker threatened to resign (another scandal) but JFK, to avoid another scandal, offered Walker a similar Command in Hawaii. Walker refused to make a deal with “the Communists in Washington DC.” So, in October 1961 he resigned.
Back to Gerhard Frey. During his time in Augsburg, Walker had befriended Gerhard Frey. They stayed in touch after Ex-General Walker returned to Texas. It was on the occasion of the JFK Assassination that they made a significant deal — Gerhard Frey, the very next Friday, published widely that Lee Harvey Oswald had been the one who tried to shoot Ex-General Walker’s at his Dallas home in 1963.
This was no secret two weeks later, when Marina Oswald revealed that fact to the FBI and the Press. But the Warren Commission (and the FBI) demanded to know how Gerhard Frey learned this fact two weeks before Marina Oswald had revealed it!
Gerhard Frey may receive more attention in the 21st century, if US historians further research Ex-General Edwin Walker. After all, they were close friends.
Thank you again.