Investigation finds worrying trend with French soldiers openly showing sympathies with neo-Nazi ideas and symbols.
A French media outlet has revealed dozens of French soldiers serving in the army openly displaying neo-Nazi sympathies.
In an investigation carried out over several months, Mediapart, an online French publication, found at least 50 soldiers in the French army displaying nostalgia for the German Third Reich.
The soldiers comfortably "displayed their convictions inside their homes, barracks or during missions carried out by the French army," the investigation found. In many cases, the soldiers filmed each other engaging in neo-Nazi reenactments.
Révélations en Une de https://t.co/29UlUZ8K0P— Fabrice Arfi (@fabricearfi) March 16, 2021
— Avec une enquête vidéo terrifiante. https://t.co/QDHTd0ExXQ
— Et une enquête écrite... terrifiante aussi. https://t.co/Tqi6tAceBV pic.twitter.com/vxMV5UiWKI
In one overseas deployment in French Guyana, a French soldier is seen instructing four unsuspecting young black boys to stretch out their arms and shout "Sieg Heil," a Nazi slogan.
Another soldier in Africa during Operation Barkhane in the Sahel region instructs a boy to do push-ups in the sand while insulting him "pump dirt bitch, what did you think, that French food is distributed for free?"
🔴 Mediapart révèle une cinquantaine de nouveaux cas de militaires néonazis. Des hommes qui n’hésitent plus à afficher leurs convictions à l’intérieur de leurs casernes mais aussi au cours de missions menées par l’armée française.https://t.co/mll21HG1Vs pic.twitter.com/v2Vo0shYob— À l'air libre - Mediapart 🔴 (@_alairlibre) March 16, 2021
Asked about the investigation, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces said that "the concerns raised by the investigation of Mediapart are very serious," however, critics have warned that the military often qualifies such findings as "isolated cases."
The soldiers posted many of the photos found in the investigation on their social media profiles and available for public viewing.
Mediapart's investigation reveals that at least 14 regiments of the French Army, including the Foreign Legion and various regiments and battalions, harbour neo-Nazi elements within them.
The journalists behind the investigation warn that the number of neo-Nazi sympathizers in the French army could be just the tip of the iceberg.
Online media @mediapart has revealed that about 50 military men who serve in the French army openly display Neonazi sympathies. [See video] This is a recurring issue: Mediapart recently made similar revelations. What is going on in the Ministry of Armed Forces? https://t.co/GrdNaT9PUx— Philippe Marlière (@PhMarliere) March 16, 2021
Compared to the 210,000 soldiers in the French army, "our investigation, carried out mainly in open sources (that is to say by consulting publications on social networks accessible to all) with the means which are those of a newspaper and not of the State, could not be exhaustive," the journalists said.
The latest revelations follow a similar investigation carried out last year that found yet more soldiers showcasing anti-immigrant views and neo-nazi sympathies.
Soldiers openly displayed tattoos stating, "My honour is called fidelity", words normally associated with the German SS, a paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
During World War II, the Nazis and their collaborators cruelly planned the murder of approximately eleven million people, including six million Jews whom they considered to be of an "inferior race" as opposed to the superiority of the "German Aryan race."