German Anti-Fascism

From Anarchy In Action

Schwarze Scharen

Schwarze Scharen (Black Flocks) were an Anarchist anti-fascist militia established in 1929 in Germany to protect meetings of the Anarchist-Syndicalist organizations known as the Free Workers' Union of Germany (FAUD) and the Syndicalist-Anarchist Youth. Dressed in all black, they engaged in puppetry, music, and theater as well as street-fighting with Nazis. Although their "ranks never exceeded the hundreds," they became the main opposition to fascism in some towns.[1]

Edelweiss Pirates and Other Youth Anti-Fascists

The Edelweiss Pirates and several youth subcultures resisted Nazi indoctrination and fought with the Nazi Youth. M. Testa summarizes, "The Edelweiss Pirates, the Kittelbach Pirates and the Navajoes were all informal gangs that indulged in the standard deviations of sex, drinking, dodging work and avoiding the tedious adult authoritarians."[2]

Escaping to the woods for weekend hikes, the Pirates stood and fought when they encountered Nazi Youth. They helped Jews and left anti-Nazi graffiti on buildings. Growing bolder over time, they even killed the head of the Gestapo in Cologne. The number of the Edelweiss Pirates is unclear, but Libcom reports, "Gestapo files in Cologne contain the names of over 3,000 teenagers identified as Edelweiss Pirates. Clearly, there must have been many more and their numbers must have been even greater when taken over Germany as a whole."[3]

The Swing Youth were long-haired jazz fans who defied Nazi bans on their favorite music. Munich University students Hans and Sophie Scholl organized the White Rose group and distributed anti-fascist literature in nearby cities.[4] White Rose's second pamphlet denounced atrocities against Jews:

[S]ince the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way. Here we see the most frightful crime against human dignity, a crime that is unparalleled in the whole of history. For Jews, too, are human beings - no matter what position we take with respect to the Jewish question - and a crime of this dimension has been perpetrated against human beings.[5]

  1. Mark Bray, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook (Brooklyn: Melville House, 2017), 22-23.
  2. M. Testa, Militant Anti-Fascism: A Hundred Years of Resistance (Oakland: AK Press, 2015), Part I.
  3. Steven, "The Edelweiss Pirates, 1939-1945," Libcom,
  4. Testa, Militant Anti-Fascism, Part I.