The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Skinhead International: Chile

In Chile the Skinhead and neo-Nazi worlds blur and intersect, due to the existence of: (a) a sizable Hitlerite youth movement which is not necessarily marked by musical proclivities or shaved heads, and (b) Cabezas Rapadas - Skinheads - some of whom are neo-Nazis, and others ultra-nationalists given to street violence.

There are, however, obvious general tendencies which have led to interaction among the groupings. In the British skinzine Last Chance, Chilean Skinhead Hans Kwasigroch has written that many Skins are "non-politcal," although the rise of a deeply ideological neo-Nazi youth movement, "Esoterica," has led to "an awakening" in which most Skins can identify with the Nazis "in the same cause, the love of our country."

One of the leaders of the Nazis, a writer and former diplomat named Miguel Serrano, speaks ambiguously on the question of violence. "For now, we cannot take to the streets and fight," he says. "This is the time to defend our ideals, myths, and legends." As for the Skinheads: "I would tell them not to employ violence, simply because it is unnecessary. But if we keep bringing in Koreans, Taiwanese and Jews, violence will probably result." But Serrano has defended Skinhead assaults against homosexuals and drug addicts as "stupendous!" and has chided the Catholic Church for not doing more about such persons. "The Skinheads," says Serrano, "represent the most profound and important values of the Chilean people."

Core of Two Hundred

Over the past two years the Skins' numbers have grown in Chile's two major metropolitan areas, Santiago (particularly in its suburbs of Maipu and Puente Alto) and Valparaiso. The movement is estimated to comprise a core of 200 militants throughout the country.

Chile's Skinheads are said to be quite certain that a totalitarian system will one day be imposed upon the whole world, and that all people will see that it is best for them. The idea is articulated in their songs, which carry much the same fulsome thoughts as Skin music everywhere.

The most successful of the Chilean Skins bands, Rockan Oi, features a song dedicated to Hitler ("Someone Like You Will Never Be Forgotten"), which proclaims, in part: "He created a nation ... he only wanted to rid his country of worms."

Among Rockan Oi's other titles are: "KKK," "Camarada Rudolf Hess," and "One in a Million" (a reference to Nazi leader Serrano). Rockan Oi has played in theaters and at university campuses. As elsewhere, it is through their music at such gatherings that the Skins reach impressionable youngsters. The Santiago newspaper Mercurio has noted a serious influence of Skinhead "culture" on campus life, naming several universities: Chile, Central, Diego Portales, and Gabriela Mistral.

"Kick a Few People"

There is, of course, a rowdy side to the story. The Skinhead quoted from the British skinzine earlier wrote: "We go out to have a laugh and perhaps kick a few people who are not nice to us. We go to pubs or heavy metal concerts and every Friday and Saturday we end up really drunk."

Chilean Professor Erwin Robertson, an historian who is an unabashed admirer of Hitler, has found the Skinheads "an interesting phenomenon because they are middle-class youths, spontaneously organized, who have taken an attitude of rebellion."

Work Cited

Anti-Defamation League. The Skinhead International: A Worldwide Survey of Neo-Nazi Skinheads. New York: Anti-Defamation League, 1995. Anti-Defamation League, 823 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017.

Disclaimer: not all skinheads are neo-nazis or white supremacists. There are many skinheads who are non- or anti-racist, and who come from a variety of different religious and cultural backgrounds. Nizkor recognizes their achievements in anti-racism: they are part of the traditional, non-racist skinhead subculture and are not the perpetrators of the hate crimes discussed here.

Unless otherwise specified, the word "skinhead" within these pages refers only to neo-Nazi and white supremacist skinheads, the perpetrators of hate crimes and participants in racist organizations. We cannot edit the body of the text above, because it was not written by Nizkor, and to change the wording would be fraudulent. Please keep in mind that not all skinheads are racist.

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