Are Nazi sympathizers and far-right extremists on a buying spree in Cape Breton Island, with dreams of laying the groundwork for a radicalized community? Der Spiegel, Germany’s leading weekly publication, appears to think so.
In a recent investigative report, Der Spiegel said that a prominent right-wing network – helmed by populist Germans Eva Herman and Andreas Popp, along with local realtor and Holocaust denier Frank Eckhardt – is in the process of establishing a Nazi colony in Nova Scotia.
Citing documents it said it had acquired, Der Spiegel said that hundreds of Germans and right-wing intellectuals have already indicated their support for, and participation in, the new community.
Herman and Popp host weeklong far-right summits – which Der Spiegel said serve as Petri dishes of brainwashing, conspiracy theorizing, and calls for violent action – in Cape Breton four times a year. The pair has denied links to Eckhardt, whose professional website called Canada a refuge from the European Union’s “increasingly authoritarian and runaway administrative machinery.”
“The report in Germany … contains many false statements,” Herman and Popp said in an email to the Halifax Examiner. “We have nothing to do with Frank Eckhart, the real estate agent from Cape Breton. Andreas last had seen Mr. Eckhart about 15 years ago, Eva does not know the man at all and has never had any contact with him.”
Nova Scotians have called on the province’s attorney general to address the creeping threat of right-wing ideology.
“Polish communities in our region stand in solidarity with all communities in denouncing hatred, extremism, racism and anti-Semitism,” said Tom Urbaniak, chairperson of the Atlantic Canada district of the Canadian Polish Congress. “I think most Cape Bretoners of all backgrounds viscerally oppose hatred and extremism. If any far-right groups are seeking to build sanctuaries or clusters on our island to promote or cultivate a frightening alternative universe, they are definitely looking in the wrong place.”