Golden Dawn’s export of neo-Nazism
Although more than 5,223 miles separate Charlottesville, Virginia, from Athens, Greece, the political connections are ominously close. One of the major instigators of the August 11-12, 2017, neo-Nazi demonstration in Charlottesville was Matthew Heimbach. In the past he has participated in a cordial conversation with Irene Dimopoulou, former Chief Editor of Golden Dawn’s far-right newspaper, EMPROS. Heimbach is a white supremacist and neo-Nazi who belongs to a new generation of white supremacists in the U.S.. Until recently he was a member of the far-right “Traditionalist Workers Party.”
In an interview by VICE News in August 14, 2017, Heimbach admitted that his inspiration for supporting the events came from studying Golden Dawn’s neo-Nazi “storm battalions” in Greece:
According to the fascist paper EMPROS, or “FORWARD,” Golden Dawn knew well in advance that the Charlottesville rally was going to take place and had contact with its important plotter. (At the rally, participants proudly displayed a variety of fascist flags including that of the European Identity movement.)
On August 5, 2017, EMPROS hosted an extensive interview with Heimback announcing the upcoming neo-Nazi event in Charlottesville.
The newspaper’s headline is “High Flags.” Informed people realize that this is a translation of the German slogan “Die Fahne hoch,” which is the first verse and the title of the anthem of the Hitler Party (NSDAP), known as Horst Wessel Lied. Golden Dawn has adopted the Nazi anthem, changing only the lyrics, and translating the first verse into “The banner is upright.” The Charlottesville demonstration featured many extreme right flags, including that of the European Identity Movement.
The same front-page features Matthew Heimbach’s interview, entitled “The American South Still Resists.” The interview was given by Irene Dimopoulou, wife of Golden Dawn “deputy leader” Christos Pappas and publisher of the Nazi newspaper, who even poses for a photo with the American neo-Nazi.
Heimbach, among other things, refers to the rally that was to take place a few days later. Unfortunately, the results and the know-how of exported methods of violence were evident in the Charlottesville massacre. Heimbach has met in the past with Golden Dawn leaders Christos Pappas and Nikolaos Michaloliakos in Athens.
Dimopoulou has played an important role in developing the international connections of GD with other international neo-Nazi and far-right organizations. Despite the shutdown of the paper EMPROS on October 15, 2019, she still maintains a high profile among European and U.S. far-right movements. Her connections to the main political ideologues of the far right can be seen through her work in the EurHope Institute and the AIGIS geopolitical and historical foundation.
Who is Irene Dimopoulou?
Currently, she is a researcher and scientific adviser to the remaining Golden Dawn Member of the European Parliament, Athanasios Konstantinou. She divides her time between Brussels and Athens, being married to the “Vice Fuhrer” of GD, Christos Pappas, who is being tried, alongside Nikolaos Michaloliakos, for directing the party as a criminal organization.
Born in 1969 in Athens, Dimopoulou possesses a degree in Psychology and another in History and Archaeology from the University of Athens. Following her graduation in 1992, she started writing in the GD monthly paper. She was influenced by European neo-fascist ideologues, such as Konstantinos Plevris, the “patriarch” of Greek fascism, and Vichy collaborationists and authors Louis Ferdinand-Céline and Drieu de la Rochelle. She is also an admirer of the European far-right networks and movements, like Alain de Benoit’s GRECE. Dimopoulou is also a fluent speaker of French, was an honorary member of the first Front National far-right party and maintains contacts with Jean Marie Le-Pen, the honorary President of the Alliance for Peace and Freedom European far-right block coalition.
Irene Dimopoulou also has tight bonds with Nikolaos Michaloliakos’s family, she and her husband Christos Pappas having been maid of honour and groomsman respectively, at the wedding of Nikolaos Michaloliakos and his wife Eleni Zaroulia. Additionally, Dimopoulou is the godmother of Ourania Michaloliakou, daughter of Nikolaos Michaloliakos. These family relations are seen throughout GD’s political structure where Dimopoulou maintains a pivotal position within the party’s hierarchy. It is not surprising that she was a candidate for the European Parliament in the 2014 and 2019 elections.
Former Chief Editor of “EMPROS” newspaper
In 2013, in the midst of GD’s political apogee, the leadership of the party, Nikolaos Michaloliakos and Pappas, funded an “independent” weekly newspaper called EMPROS, in order to expand the party’s influence in a broader public, after the successful Greek national elections of 2012, with Dimopoulou as Chief Editor. In June 2013, the newspaper began with sales of a staggering 7,500 copies per week. This number steadily declined shortly after the assassination of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas to 4,000 copies per week by September of the same year. From 2014 to 2019, when the newspaper ceased to exist, its sales were down to 1,500 papers per week. During its active years, the newspaper worked as an unofficial political instrument under Irene Dimopoulou. The official political newspaper of GD was the homonymous “Golden Dawn” which was founded in 1991 and guided by Nikolaos Michaloliakos. The shutdown of the newspaper came as no surprise since GD’s ongoing trials, beginning in 2014, caused the economic resources of the party to dwindle to the point that, in the elections of 2019, it was unable to elect any MPs to the Greek Parliament. Since the shutdown, Dimopoulou has managed various blogs, such as “EMPROS” and “Eirinika.”
Dimopoulou’s career in the European Parliament
In the European elections of 2019, GD elected only one MEP and received 4.7% of the votes. In other words, GD has lost two MEPs since the 2014 European elections. Dimopoulou, a candidate for MEP, was not elected but, instead, used her family connections to the Party in order to be assigned as a scientific and political adviser to the newly elected Athanasios Konstantinou. Since the 1990s, Konstantinou has collaborated with Nikos Michaloliakos and has worked with Dimopoulou, especially in the EMPROS newspaper and the AIGIS Foundation.
The AIGIS Foundation, otherwise known as the “Independent Foundation of Historical and Geopolitical Studies,” is a think-tank financed by GD that has been active since 2013. Since then, numerous articles and books have been presented there with far-right and Nazi content, such as the “Religious Attitudes of the Indo-Europeans” by Nazi ideologue Hans F.K. Gunther known as the “Race Pope.” The foundation, seems to be operating under the direction of current MEP Athanasios Konstantinou, who served as its president in at least 2016, and Irene Dimopoulou. Konstantinou, an ex-military officer of the Greek Armed Forces, frequently signed his racist articles in the AIGIS with the nickname “Likos,” or “Wolf.”
The Foundation has been under investigation by the Greek authorities since the inception of the GD trials. In one GD trial, Kostantinou was accused of propagation of racist ideology, as was Dimopoulou. It is worth noting that many prominent members of the European far right, such as Udo Voigt of the German NPD, have collaborated in this project by the spread of neo-Nazi propaganda.
It is also worth noting that Voigt, although he renounced his relationship with GD in 2017, was present as a sympathetic observer in the GD trials in Athens in 2015. Currently the NPD maintains relationships with the Greek neo-Nazi group, called Ethniko Metopo or “National Front,” and was invited to the “Young European Conference” that was scheduled to take place in May 2020 in Germany. The NPD intended to publicize this event through the AIGIS Foundation in Greece.
Currently the AIGIS Foundation seems to be inactive due to lack of funding but certainly remains an instrument for far-right propaganda in Greece.
Irene Dimopoulou, as mentioned above, is a very important person in the European far-right panorama. Since 2017, she has been a prominent member of the EurHope Institute run by one of the most significant far-right ideologues of the “Third Position,” the Italian Gabriele Adinolfi.
He has been a member of the neo-fascist Lotta Studentesca alongside Roberto Fiore, current leader of Forza Nuova. Adinolfi has influenced a number of neo-fascist movements and parties, such as the infamous “Casa Pound,” and also travels frequently between Italy and Brussels. His relationship to Irene Dimopoulou, and thus GD, is reflected in the fact that Dimopoulou participates in the EurHope think-tank in Brussels. EurHope’s internet site states that it “assists and organizes think-tank events for the European-level organizations of AEMN [Alliance of European National Movements], in order to enhance and develop their research and publication activities based on the common values.”
In November 2017, Adinolfi visited the Delphi archaeological site in Greece, accompanied by Irene Dimopoulou, in order to commemorate GD “martyrs” Fountoulis and Kapelonis, two former members who were assassinated in 2013. His goal was to project the “Hellenic roots of Europe” as a precursor to western civilization. He appeared with the Lansquenets flag, a far-right organization that he founded. Apart from the EurHope Institute he has collaborated with the far-right AIGIS geopolitical and historical foundation of Dimopoulou and the currently defunct EMPROS newspaper also headed by her.
Since 2015, Dimopoulou has participated in various European Nationalistic Forums, such as the “II and III European Nationalistic Forums” in Paris in 2016 and 2017. In these forums, she was reacquainted with old figures of the European far-right movements and parties. The main subject of conversation in both forums involved “the nationalists against the migratory invasion” following the migratory crisis of 2015-2016. There were many representatives from Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Romania, Russia, Greece (Dimopoulou) and Cyprus. Dimopoulou herself reproduced the conspiracy theory of “population replacement” in Europe by the “Islamist aggression.” This meeting also commemorated Georgios Fountoulis and Manolis Kapelonis. The leadership of GD and European neo-Nazis have used them on various occasions as symbols of “martyrdom.” At this meeting, many prominent figures were present, such as Jean Marie Le-Pen, Yvan Benedetti from the PNF (French Nationalist Party), Sigrid Schuessler from the German PEGIDA, a German far-right anti-Islam movement, and lastly, Nick Griffin, Vice President of the APF European far-right coalition.
Winds of Change
Irene Dimopoulou is also essential to the European far right. Perhaps her most significant achievement thus far is her contribution to the ‘’Winds of Change” manifesto, written and published in 2016 by various far-right and neo-Nazi ideologues. Among them appears Nick Griffin mentioned above. Other prominent figures who contributed were Udo Voigt, leader of the German neo-Nazi NPD, Derek Holland, a British far-right Catholic integralist and follower of Adinolfi’s Third Position, and Italian fascist Roberto Fiore. Fiore has been a leader of the European Parliament group AENM, which sponsors and funds the EurHope project of Adinolfi.
Since the humanitarian crisis, these initiatives have been used as a propaganda tool in European far-right politics and their scope of influence remains to be seen. It is evident that Irene Dimopoulou has played an important part in the structure of these activities, since she has been contributing to the meeting of key players of the international far right.
Andrew Lee is an independent researcher and historian who studies the far-right parties in Greece and the wider region of the Balkans.
 GD elected 18 MPs and received 6,92% of the votes.
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About the Author
About the Author
Andrew Lee is an independent researcher and historian who studies the far-right parties in Greece and the wider region of the Balkans.