The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Skinhead International: Spain

One Spanish Skinhead identifies the enemy: "I just attack scum, such as punks, anarchists, drug addicts... We must kick them out of Europe. They stink. We don't want them. Let's get them."

This Skinhead, named Oscar, was interviewed by the Spanish journal El Pais in December 1993. He continued: "Dark-skinned people repel me. I love Spain, and I don't like people who don't belong to the white race to come here .... The white race is the one that must rule. We whites know that we are superior ....Spain needs a dictatorship."

Oscar, 19 years old, had just returned to Madrid from a bash in another city. On the train he and other Skins had beaten and kicked a man for being black.

"Decidedly Dangerous"

Skinheads were first seen in Spain in 1984 among the Ultra Sur fans of the Real Madrid Soccer Club. According to studies made by Spain's new Police Citizen Relations Operative Office, there were some 2,000 Skinheads in the country in late 1993 - half of them in Barcelona, one third in Madrid, the rest mainly in Valencia. (These are predominantly industrial cities with high population densities and large numbers of immigrants.) Of the 2,000 Skinheads, some 600 were radical right-wing extremists considered "decidely dangerous." The rest appeared to assume the Skinhead "look" without the radical ideology. The radical Skins are of the middle and lower classes and range in age from 15 to 22. (At 23, many seem to "retire" from the active bully life.) The _El Pais_ interviewer suggested a profile of Spain's Nazi Skinheads: fairly obedient children, but poor students, who behave normally until the weekend, when they go out in packs of eight or 10 to attack their foes - blacks, immigrants, addicts. "The night, the big city, the nicknames - protect their anonymity."

Spanish Skinheads have cooperative links with other organized extremist groups. Among these groups are Juntas Espanolas (Spanish Councils), a far-right nationalist party that opposes immigration, and Las Bases Autonomas, a network of far-right groups that has claimed responsibility for the same kind of street thuggery typical of Skinheads.

A notorious case was the November 1992 murder of a female Dominican immigrant by a Skinhead member of the police force 9known as the Civil Guard). He and his three teenage accompices (who had ties to Las Bases Autonomas) all received heavy sentences. In addition to attacking immigrants, Spanish Skins have repeatedly targeted homosexuals for beatings and - in at least one case - murder.

Go Team!

Skinheads continue to plague Spanish soccer. Although members of the aforementioned Ultra Sur gang have been denied admission to a number of stadiums, Skinheads are still seen brandishing Nazi symbols at matches of the major clubs in Madrid and Barcelona.

The proliferation of violent incidents (more than 40 per year in Madrid alone) spurred the creation in 1993 of the 30-member Special Police Group designed to centralize information and coordinate activity against organized youth violence. All information on Skin groups and individuals, until then uncoordinated, has been centralized, along with the arrest and booking process.

One initial Skinhead reaction to this development was to "camouflage" themselves in normal appearance, casting away the Doc Martens boots and letting their hair grow. Late in 1993, however, it seemed to be Skinhead business as usual, when the British skinzine, _Last Chance_ (1) announced the appearnace of _Crew Zine_, a new Skinhead publication emanating from Madrid; (2) carried an advertisement for a second publication, _Skinhead del Sur de Europa_, from Barcelona; (3) announced that there were several Skinhead shops in Spain ("the best" being the Coyote Shop in Valencia); and (4) reviewed new recordings by Spain's "Division 250" Skin band.

"Heil! We are Nazis!"

Music has been an important element of Skinhead life in Spain for at least a decade. In the 1980's the Skin band Gabinete Caligari opened its performances with a cry of "Heil! We are Nazis!" Another, Los Illegales, had a song titled "Heil Hitler."

On the 14th of March 1992, the Skin band Division 250 organized an international festival in Valencia, hosting invited guests from England, France, Italy, Belgium and Portugul - to hear the popular British bands Violent Storm, No Remorse, and Battle Zone, along with Division 250. (Violent Storm could not appear; only one of its members survived an auto crash on the way to Heathrow Airport for their flight to Spain.) No Remorse thrilled the international assemblage with a hit song lamenting that

... in 1933 the fight for race was won,
But sadly those days of hope are gone ...
We are all fighting tougher odds
We look for guidance from the white man's gods.
(Anti-Defamation League, 65-67)

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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