Understanding the far right in Germany takes a paradigm shift in thought. Imagine an earnest group of young folk musicians from Cumbria with a repertoire dedicated to the courage of their grandfathers at Tobruk, ballads celebrating the advance of the Royal Tank Corps at El Alamein and sweet guitar riffs backing songs about their love of their folk customs. This approximates the narrative behind much of Germany's far right; that the Wehrmacht was the finest war-machine ever created, that German soldiers in WWII performed nobly and with outstanding courage against overwhelming odds, that their grandfathers were true heroes. It's as if Nick Griffin were suddenly to produce a Spanish guitar and began to strum chords declaring "I'd like to share something I wrote recently ..." . To us, where the liberal-left seem to have a monopoly of the performing arts, it seems strange indeed.
All this of course is 'wrong' and contrary to the official post-war narrative of guilt and liability established in Germany. Right-wing parties in Germany however have been pulling a worrying number of votes - up to 15%, and enough for the Government to set up a Commission to counter the growth of the movement. In seeking to re-write Germany's recent history, to give meaning to those five million Wehrmacht dead, these young people can perhaps be understood. And the German government will have a hard time of it - there's nothing so hard to suppress as a song, and the Devil always has had the best tunes.