My so-called friends – skinheads and football hooligans with neo-fascist views – have beaten me up multiple times. I have had my nose broken, a tooth knocked out and bear the scars of a knife wound in my hand. They even set pit bull dogs on me.

It’s almost unthinkable to try to explain to a fanatic that you met a girl, fell in love and prefer to go with her to the cinema instead of participating in another fight. 

AnonymousFormer far-right group member

Although it has been nearly twenty years since I left the group, their acts of abuse and violence have never stopped. I was an important figure and they are still afraid that I could use my knowledge to incriminate them. That’s why I don’t want to use my real name in this article.

Our group did not have a formal structure, but everyone was good at something and so took responsibility for some tasks. Those who trained in martial arts were sent to the front line for fights. Others were in charge of communication and kept contacts with groups from other cities.

Together with two comrades, I implemented the neo-fascist ideology. I read books containing various right-wing ideologues including the pre-war politician Roman Dmowski, who is considered to be the father of the Polish nationalist ideology due to his anti-Semitic, anti-German, pro-church views. I remember that someone even once brought us a badly-translated copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

At that time we did not have any formal meetings to discuss our views or ideas. Back then music was the major means of spreading the nationalist ideology. Concerts of neo-fascist bands were organized with the utmost caution. Because the name of location was kept secret until the very last second, we waited for messages sending us to a secret location somewhere in a forest where drivers were waiting to bring us to the concert. I still remember this special feeling of a mystery and thrill.

The same security measures were applied around the organisation of events celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday or glorifying former SS-soldiers – with frequent Nazi salutes becoming the common feature.

Back then I would never have imagined turning up to school wearing clothes emblazoned with fascist emblems. I was ashamed to express my views in public. Today, I see my former friends openly expressing their racist and disdainful opinions towards refugees and other minorities without embarrassment. This was socially unacceptable 20 years ago. Now it has become fashionable.

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The author was a member of a right-wing skinheads’ group in Poland during the early 1990s. After he left the group, he graduated from a university and works in an insurance company today. He told his story through Natalia Ojewska. His name was changed for security reasons.