The biography of German Neo-Nazi death-squad leader Franco Albrecht – known in the German press only as Franco A – begins in the city of Offenbach in 1989. Franco Albrecht’s mother, a local woman, had married an Italian immigrant, a man whose grandfather served in Hitler’s navy and had Germanic runes engraved on his tombstone. According to Franco Albrecht’s Facebook posts, his uncle remains a staunch supporter of Germany’s right-wing extremist party, the Alternative for Germany.
As reported by his schoolteachers, Franco Albrecht showed no racist or xenophobic tendencies as a young boy. Yet he always wanted to join Germany’s Bundeswehr – the successor to Hitler’s Wehrmacht. By the age of seventeen, Franco began keeping a diary in which he recorded his rising right-wing faith in Germanness (Deutschtum). By 2007, he was talking about his nationalistic pride and claiming that Germany’s media and the state were discrediting the beloved Fatherland, the Germanic nation.
All the while, Franco Albrecht was planning a career in the armed forces, seeking to reach the top ranks in Germany’s military. In the long-term, he was planned to carry out a military coup to establish a Neo-Nazi regime (Aryan Volksgemeinschaft). He fancied leaders like Napoleon, Atatürk and Hitler.
Franco Albrecht expressed himself as loyal, sympathetic and honest in his graduation book, and at the age of twenty-eight, his now infamous German-language MA Thesis presented to the Militarschule openly contained many far-right, antisemitic and racist ideas. Nobody at the Military Academy Saint-Cyr seemed to mind. Not even a chapter entitled “Genocide and The Decline of Culture” raised any eyebrows.
At about the same time as his dissertation was completed, Albrecht was busy defending known Holocaust denier David Irving, claiming that Irving was a victim of an international Jewish campaign to smear his name. In Franco Albrecht’s twisted mind, right-wing politicians such as Jörg Haider and Jürgen Möllemann had been assassinated by the secret service.
Franco’s main ideological mentors remained right-wing demagogues like Alain de Benoist, Gustave Le Bon and far-right journalists like Maschke, author of The Conspiracy of The Flak Helpers (1985). Franco Albrecht also followed right-wing extremist organizations such as the Identitarian movement and antisemitic conspiracy ideologists like Nesta Webster. But Franco Albrecht’s main ideology came from the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.
Franco Albrecht explains political developments in the world as being purposefully orchestrated by hidden conspirators – the world Jewry. Despite knowing this, army supervisors who interviewed him in early 2014 found Franco Albrecht’s work neither to be extreme right-wing nor racist. A legal advisor of the Bundeswehr (Germany’s army) accepted all of Franco Albrecht’s excuses (I was overworked, I am misunderstood, etc.), seeing no indication of right-wing tendencies.
Thus whitewashed by the army’s own assessors, Franco Albrecht was made a “professional soldier” in November 2015. Neo-Nazi Franco Albrecht began his combat training while at the same time secretly instigating a clandestine plan to undermine democracy and the liberal state. Then as now, the right-wing extremist spirit of the infamous and murderous Stahlhelm persists. The Stahlhelm was the illegal steel-helmeted Black Reichswehr. It was implicated in the mass-killing Einsatzgruppen where ordinary men carried out mass-murder in Poland during Nazi occupation.
To further his strategic plan, Franco Albrecht used his fingerprints to register himself as a Syrian war refugee on 30 December 2015. Almost a year later in November 2016, German authorities conducted a mandatory hearing with the self-styled refugee, with a Bundeswehr soldier acting as interpreter. Giving himself the name David Benjamin and claiming to be a French-speaking Syrian Christian, Franco Albrecht was questioned for eighty minutes in French. Once again, he got away with the deception.
Franco Albrecht had other plans as well. One of these emerged in January 2017, when a cleaning woman found a pistol loaded with six cartridges in the shaft of a disabled toilet at Vienna’s Airport. She contacted the Austrian police and in February, when Franco Albrecht came to pick up the gun, it set off an alarm and he was immediately arrested. During interrogation, the Vienna police noted Franco Albrecht’s extreme right-wing attitudes but dismissed them as not an immediate threat. However, the Austrians did forward Franco’s fingerprints to Germany’s BKA, the equivalent of the FBI.
They also sent details of the gun found at the airport. It turned out to be a MAB Model D caliber 7.65 that was built between 1928 and 1944, and had been purchased in Paris in July 2016 by Franco Albrecht, claiming to be an Austrian citizen. This firearm was the same kind used by officers of Hitler’s Wehrmacht in occupied France. This gun is high symbolic for any young Neo-Nazi. In February 2017, an army-appointed lawyer warned Franco Albrecht that this violation of German and Austrian firearm laws would result in an internal disciplinary investigation.
This lawyer also told him that the situation would be “manageable” because the young Neo-Nazi’s explanation for the pistol at the airport would be seen as acceptable. But soon after, the army lawyer deleted his email dialogue, no reasons given and so today no hard evidence exists of this communication. When BKA forensic technicians examined Franco Albrecht’s gun, they found it almost completely clean on the outside, but inside the firearm they found fingerprints matching a classified Neo-Nazi: Franco Albrecht.
As almost always in such cases, Franco Albrecht wasn’t a lone wolf. He operated, just like Germany’s most famous Neo-Nazis, as part of a coordinated group: a wolf-pack. Known as the NSU, this was an extensive Neo-Nazi network operating within the army. He exchanged thousands of Neo-Nazi messages with his army comrades in the Bundeswehr, including no less than a whopping 36,000 WhatsApp messages on racism, right-wing photos and Neo-Nazi comments related to Hitler’s Wehrmacht.
It is now known that in 2014, this German army officer and Neo-Nazi began taping Neo-Nazi voice recordings on his mobile phone. Addressing his group leader, for example, Albrecht labeled his political opponents as “pigs,” while dreaming of an imminent Third World War.
He also convinced himself and many of his followers that Hitler had done nothing wrong. In January 20, 2016, Franco Albrecht gave a public speech about what Spengler called the Decline of the West and the systematic destruction of Germany – and now classic Neo-Nazi ideology.
He raved on about a so-called “controlled population exchange” – a common euphemism among Neo-Nazis for ethnic cleansing ̶ as well as the hysterical claim that Zionists (that is, Jews) seek world domination. A year later, in February 2017, Germany’s Public Prosecutor opened a criminal investigation into Franco Albrecht.
At the same time, police searches in Austria, Germany and France found explosive devices as well as other evidence of a Neo-Nazi plot. Franco Albrecht was arrested, and his mobile phones, laptops and written documents were impounded. They were soon found to be filled with incriminating evidence. They also found a total of 1083 ammunition cartridges of various calibers and 885 rounds for a HK G36 assault rifle and an MP7 submachine gun, hand grenades and other ammunition, most of it stolen from German army stocks.
Franco Albrecht also stored ammunition and weapons in his mother’s basement. Shortly before his arrest, he gave 167 cartridges and a G36 assault rifle to his Neo-Nazi friend Mathias F. which were stolen during shooting exercises of the Bundeswehr. It was also discovered that Franco Albrecht had downloaded detailed information on the production of Molotov cocktails and hand grenades from the Dark Web.
In personal notes, Neo-Nazi Franco Albrecht wrote, “He who makes Adolf Hitler look bad is a liar.” For him, Hitler was “one of the most important German leaders in history.” Franco Albrecht dreamed, like the Führer he adored, of racial extermination to purify Germany’s Aryan stock. He owned a well-thumbed copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and CDs containing his hero’s speeches and Nazi songs. His private notes also contained phrases such as “Hitler is above everything!”
In Franco Albrecht’s room at the Bundeswehr, a poster with a Nazi soldier hung on the wall, decorated with replicas of a WWII Wehrmacht weapons. He had carved a Swastika into his G36 German army rifle. The handle was also decorated with the engraved insignia H.H. (Heil Hitler). During his basic military training, Franco Albrecht carried a business card with a picture of the Führer on it. In his private apartment, he possessed stacks of NPD – Germany’s legal Neo-Nazi party – leaflets.
More and more incriminating evidence emerged as the investigation continued. Franco Albrecht listened to tapes of Neo-Nazi music bands like Wotan, Stuka and Martyrs. But unbelievably, when German police informed Franco Albrecht’s military superiors about all this, nothing was done. To camouflage this, the army’s PR machine frequently announced fairytale lies: we serve democracy, soldiers are citizens in uniform and the army will investigate any and all cases of Neo-Nazism inside the Bundeswehr. The case of German army officer and Neo-Nazi Franco Albrecht makes a mockery of these claims.
While his superior’s issue PR statements, German army officer and Neo-Nazi Franco Albrecht continued to accumulate dozens of Neo-Nazi audio files and recorded hours of his own musings about his readiness to use violence and brutality. He stored Neo-Nazi works like Total Resistance or Der Totale Widerstand which remains popular among German Neo-Nazis. It describes violent methods of terrorism. Franco Albrecht had also downloaded an explosives handbook from the internet giving constructions on bomb making.
Franco Albrecht’s mobile phone contained images of parked cars belonging to the staff of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation. He had sketched out the surroundings of the Foundation’s building for a target attack and planned to assassinate the journalist Anetta Kahane in Berlin, just one of many prominent names on his death list.
German army officer and Neo-Nazi Franco Albrecht’s network also included the former army officer and instructor in Germany’s elite fighting unit named Special Forces Command (KSK) André S. André S. ran a Neo-Nazi network called KSK The Hannibal Network and was known simply as Hannibal. Its Neo-Nazi motto is: GERMANY WAKE UP! SALVATION, BLESSED IS VICTORY. Hannibal is also well connected to Neo-Nazi survivalists preppers operating throughout Germany. These right-wing and Neo-Nazi survivalists hoard gasoline canisters, tobacco, schnapps, fog grenades, hand grenades, army ration food, etc. for the impending cataclysm.
After twenty years of Neo-Nazi activities, gun violence, planned assassinations, death lists, Nazi glorification inside and outside of Germany’s esteemed army, the Bundeswehr, Neo-Nazi soldier, Franco Albrecht, was eventually put on trial by German authorities in May 2021. He had been arrested at the beginning of 2017. After four years of investigations, a court case has finally started. On Franco Albrecht’s mobile phone and Telegram chat groups, Hannibal makes plenty of appearances. Franco Albrecht’s Neo-Nazi network can finally be worked out.
Like the NSU’s extensive circle of supporters, Franco Albrecht’s network is not something static. It has no central command. There is no Führer. It is a decentralized Neo-Nazi network in which not everyone knows what others are doing. Some connections are strong and some are loose.
What remains striking, however, is that there are plenty of “men” (!) in such Neo-Nazi networks who are supposed to protect the state – army and police officers. Among them is for example, secret service man Andreas Temme. Temme is the proud owner of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. He was known as Klein Adolf. All of them, and all too many others, have become a danger to the democratic state.
Franco Albrecht still holds the rank of first lieutenant of the Bundeswehr and some of his comrades are closely connected to his Neo-Nazi network. For example, his fellow officer Marcel G. is a longtime member of the Hannibal death squad. Franco Albrecht moves in Neo-Nazi circles where people are preparing for the looming catastrophe of Day X.
They believe that refugees have overrun their country. To defend their imaginary Master Race and Aryan Nation Aryan Volksgemeinschaft from foreign blood, they operate under a variety of disguises, as when Franco Albrecht pretended to be a Syrian refugee wanting to expose the shortcomings in the German asylum system, while actually planning an attack he wanted to blame on refugees.
Meanwhile, former East-German comrade André S., a proud soldier in Germany’s Special Forces Command KSK played an active part in several so-called “incidents” involving his commando unit. Neo-Nazi Bundeswehr soldiers. At that time André S’s nickname in Neo-Nazi chats room was Hannibal.
Hannibal’s Neo-Nazi network has over 300 connections linking more than 90 individuals, Neo-Nazi groups, death squads and other hidden organizations. He is a proven networker with a tendency to megalomania. André S. ranks as a highly successful recruiter of new members for his squad including serving soldiers, arms dealers and police officers.
For a long time, German authorities—and this includes Germany’s military, the Bundeswehr– claimed it is very difficult to deal adequately with people like Franco Albrecht, their Neo-Nazi networks, their death lists, ammunition and weapons bunkers, Hitler’s glorification inside army barracks, antisemitic, racist and Neo-Nazi ideology. It is, we contend, a laughable claim, appealing perhaps to the idea that people are naïve enough to believe such nonsense.
In the end, German army officer and Neo-Nazi Franco Albrecht was arrested; but Hannibal continues to be a free man. The former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright wasn’t wrong when saying, “It is easier to remove tyrants and destroy concentration camps than it is to kill the ideas that gave them birth”.
This article was published on 4 June 2021 at CounterPunch.
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