A neo-Nazi fight club has been discovered operating at a sports centre in Berlin, Germany.
The training sessions took place at an outdoor football pitch at the Rennbahn sports facility in the area of Weissensee in Berlin, and took place without permission from local authorities.
Several of the attendees were dressed in T-shirts emblazoned with the inscription “Kampf der Nibelungen,” a one of the most prominent far-right combat sports promotions in Europe.
It remains unclear why the group was allowed to train at the public facility, or whether any officials were aware of the issue. The SV Blau-Gelb Berlin football team holds training sessions on the same pitch, though a spokesperson noted that they were not aware of far-right fighters training there as well. “I don’t know what happens there during the day,” said a club member who spoke to German media on the condition of anonymity.
Kampf der Nibelungen (KDN) describes itself as an organization for “young Germans who unite the dedication and enthusiasm for ‘their’ sport and who do not want to be under the yoke of the prevailing mainstream.”
The far-right fight club’s website, which has since removed all extremist references, is now limited to an online clothing store that sells t-shirts for men and women. Though that means the official information of KdN’s activities is sorely lacking, there are several detailed reports that help explain the organization’s strategic growth and the influence they wield. Fighters from across Russia, France, Switzerland, and Scandinavia participated in the events, many of whom were handpicked by the organizers, while others are selected from fellow neo-Nazi fight clubs or promotions across Europe.
KDN was reportedly founded by members of the “Hammerskins,” a self-proclaimed group of “elite” neo-nazi skinheads. KdN is also affiliated with notorious figures such as Robin Schmiemann, a neo-Nazi who co-founded the right-wing extremist network Combat 18, an extremist group that emerged from the British skinhead street-fighting scene that became the armed wing of the infamous neo-Nazi network Blood & Honor. The group, which is banned in Germany, is also suspected to have been involved in the murder of German politician Walter Lübcke in June 2019 and have been labeled a threat to European life by Europol, the European Union’s designated police agency.
It is worth noting that German investigators staged one of the most significant crackdowns on far-right extremism in the country’s history in April 2022, arresting individuals associated with Combat 18, as well as the US-based Atomwaffen Division—a group linked to five murders in the U.S.—and far-right marital arts group Knockout 51.