Neo-Nazis at the National Trust: How far-right groups are trying to ‘take back’ ancient sites

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Stills from a YouTube video show far-right rituals at National Trust sites. The video has since been removed from YouTube

The National Trust is to step up security after an investigation by the Telegraph has revealed that neo-Nazis are conducting rituals at their historic sites.

It can be revealed that a far-right group which promises its followers reward in the afterlife if they die in the “struggle for the freedom” has vowed to “take back” ancient locations across England.

The National Trust admitted that they were aware that far-right groups had been using Avebury, a World Heritage Site, to carry out rituals and said that they had reported all concerns to the authorities.

They vowed to step up security at Wayland Smithy, a Neolithic burial chamber which they manage on behalf of English Heritage, where fanatics have carved swastikas into trees.

The Telegraph has identified that a group calling themselves Woden’s Folk who have carried out masked torchlight rituals and boasted about launching a “English resistance” at the two sites.

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A swastika carved on a tree at Wayland Smithy
 CREDIT: JULIAN SIMMONDS/THE TELEGRAPH

One of their rituals held at the ancient landmarks was attended by members of violent neo-Nazi organisations Combat 18 and now banned terror organisation National Action.

Garron Helm, the former National Action member who was jailed for sending anti-Semitic hate messages to MP Luciana Berger, he appears masked and holding their flag on their website.

The group, which was infiltrated by an undercover reporter, are planning to hold a nationwide meet or “blot” at the Wayland Smithy, which sits near the White Horse at Uffington, in November.

The group are Odinist, the same Norse religion worshipped by Anders Brevik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, and Brenton Tarrant, who gunned down 51 people in the Christchurch massacre earlier this year.

A spokesman for the National Trust said that whilst they have been aware of some far-right activity at Avebury, a pagan site older than Stone Henge, they had had no knowledge of the rituals being held at the burial chamber.

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They said that whilst they “want everyone to feel welcome” they “don’t condone, support or encourage any non-peaceful, anti-social or illegal activities at any of our places”.

But a spokesperson admitted that little could be done to improve safety at Avebury where there is a village and a road inside of the circle, pointing out that it would “not be feasible to fence the stones off”.

There will be increased patrols at Wayland Smithy, they said.

A spokesperson for English Heritage added: “Wayland’s Smithy and Avebury henge and stone circles are important pieces of our shared heritage and this sort of activity is clearly unacceptable and should be reported to the police.

“These sites are managed on behalf of English Heritage by the National Trust and we are working closely with them to ensure no future activity such as this takes place.”

A video of Woden’s Folk performing their rituals, seen by the Telegraph, has been removed from YouTube for violating the site’s rules on hate speech.

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Avebury is a pagan site, older than Stonehenge CREDIT:  JULIAN SIMMONDS/THE TELEGRAPH

The group’s founder, who calls himself Wulf Ingessunu, has written a number of blogs littered with racist ideology and calling for the introduction of “Aryan laws”.

In one he writes: “We shall leave the political struggle on the streets of England to those brave young men and women who have taken up that struggle against overwhelming odds – ours is a religious struggle.

“But as you take back the streets of England, so shall we take back these Ancient and Holy Sites around rural England.”

He told an undercover reporter that the group had held rituals at the Smithy in Oxfordshire more times than he could remember.

The emergence of dangerous neo-Nazis joining the group from Combat 18 and National Action will increase concern about their intentions, counter-extremism experts warned last night.

Who are Woden’s Folk, the group which attracts neo-Nazis Book

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Woden’s Folk

As a group which attracts violent neo-Nazis and recognises that their beliefs in the “Aryan” race are “frowned upon”, it is little surprise that Woden’s Folk are a secretive group.

Now an investigation for the Telegraph, in which the group were infiltrated by an undercover reporter, has exposed how newcomers are forced to complete questionnaires on their views on race before they are allowed to join.

As part of the initiation the members are asked “how they feel” about “taking up a struggle” or the“Folk-Nation, the English, and for our comrades in Europe and the rest of the world where the White Race has settled”.

The questionnaire also asks for views on the fact that Woden’s Folk are a “race-conscious” movement which believes “that it is our duty and responsibility to preserve our Folk and to aid their upward evolution”.

Anti-fascist campaigners said the group espouses dangerous neo-Nazi ideologies as they warned of an emerging trend among the extreme far-right to seek approval for their views in spirituality, in a similar way to potential jihadists.

The “white survivalist” group, which includes former members of a banned terror organisation, promises followers that if they die in the struggle” they will be rewarded in the afterlife.

Once accepted members, largely men, can join the groups “hearths” or “cells” across Britain in which the members learn martial arts, survival techniques and hold ceremonies praising the Norse God of War.

The ceremonies, in which masked attendees carry flags and burning torches, are held at ancient sites across the UK including the World Heritage site at Avebury stone circle and a Neolithic burial chamber at Wayland Smithy, both managed by the National Trust.

In long rambling blog post the members rail against multi-racial society, immigration, homosexuality, capitalism, and the “evil forces” and “white traitors” that control the world as they call for the introduction of “Aryan laws”.

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Garron Helm holding the Woden’s Folk flag

Garron Helm, the former member of National Action once imprisoned for sending anti-Semitic abuse to MP Luciana Berger,  is photographed on their website holding the flag with a mask over his face.

The 25-year-old’s social media shows that he was attending the groups “sacred” sites such as Wayland Smithy in Oxfordshire whilst he was under the supervision of Prevent, the Government’s anti-extremism programme.

The group identify themselves as Wodenists, a form of Odinism, in which they worship the God of War Odin, who was known as Woden in the Old English.

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What is Odinism | The ancient religion followed by far-right terrorists

An ancient Germanic religion cited by far-right terrorists was “revived” by the Nazi party to justify their views.

Odinism, or Wodenism in Old English, has spread across Europe and America since being brought to prominence again leading members of Adolf Hitler’s SS including Heinrich Himmler.

Though the religion has a number of non-fascist followers, the Norse religion has been increasingly adopted by white supremacists, experts say.

In the last decade Odinists have been convicted of plotting or carrying out a number of terror atrocities across the world.

This includes the Norway massacre of Andres Breivik, who later told the court that: “I’m an Odinist, I believe in the only god, Odin.”

Brenton Tarrant, who killed 51 in a massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, signed his manifesto: “See you in Valhalla”.

Professor Matthew Feldman, Director of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right, said that before the 1930s ancient religions like Odinism had largely been forgotten in Europe, until Himmler led a mission to discover the “ancient aryan traditions” that would justify many of the Nazis’ policies including the Holocaust.

Coming from his rejection of Christianity, Himmler dabbled in the occult and a number of Nordic religions and brought about the “Nazi revival of Odinism under the SS”, Professor Feldman said.

Mark Potok, an expert in the far right and senior research fellow at the centre, added: “Odinism is more and more being taken over taken by the racists and the fundamentalists and what these people are saying is that Christianity is a pathetic religion fostered in Europe by the Jews.

“It all comes down to racist versions of Odinism as a muscle-bound religion where might is right.”

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The founder, a pensioner called Geoffrey Dunn living in East Sussex who goes by the name Wulf Ingessunu, told an undercover reporter that they “need to be ‘White Survivalists’ since the very existence of our Folk is now threatened”.

He tells his followers that this country is “sacred” to the English, adding: “This land is worth fighting and dying for if necessary”.

The “code of honour”, written in pamphlets sent to supporters, states:  “Revenge wrongs done to the Folk of Woden. A warrior’s death in the struggle for the freedom and survival of our Folk secures a place with the Gods in Valhalla.”

Matthew Collins, head of research at counter extremism group Hope not Hate, said that there are around 50 people who associate with Woden’s Folk.

He said that the fact that their rituals have been attended by former National Action and Combat 18 members should ring alarm bells.

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Mr Collins said: “What we have noticed is that we have hard line neo-Nazis are looking to use fake spirituality to increase people’s desire for things like martyrdom.

“The people who follow these cults are searching for some kind of approval for their ideas.”

Woden’s Folk recruits members online and ask them to spread the word with “fanaticism” and “religious fervour”.

Members have used online forums to praise Adolf Hitler and suggest that he was the second coming of a Norse God.

It is understood that they hold around four nationwide meetings every year, with one planned for Wayland Smithy in November.

Alongside smaller “cell” meetings the group are learning survival techniques and martial arts for what they believe is the “The English struggle”.

Professor Matthew Feldman, Director of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right, said  that his  “understanding is that they were a fascist or neo-Nazi group which traces a lineage through the Norse Gods to the Nazis”.

Professor Feldman said that since the collapse of the BNP around a decade ago the far-right groups had become increasingly fragmented and fanatics were now more likely to move between different groups.

 

 

 

The break up has “allowed them to become more extreme”, Professor Feldman said.

When confronted Mr Dunn denied that Woden’s Folk are a racist group or advocated any kind of race war and said that they were a religious not a political movement.

He added that despite being pictured across the website of the group, which is now run by a man calling himself Raven who is based in the West Midlands, Helm had only attended a single national meet.

VIA THE TELEGRAPH 9th August 2019

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