Atavist Magazine
'Follow The Leader' 

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"[Putin] and some of his closest intelligence associates helped nourish a neo-Nazi movement across Germany. Their preferred tool for sowing hate and discord was Rainer Sonntag."

Client: Atavist Magazine.  Published in partnership with Source Material

Art Direction: Ed Johnson

Description: 'Follow the Leader' is an article by Leigh Baldwin & Sean Williams.   Atavist Magazine is an online magazine that produce one incredible story every month.

 

This is an historical document on the far-right movement in Germany just before the collapse of the Soviet Union and how a man called Rainer Sonntag led this movement whilst also working as an informant for the Stasi and KGB under the watchful eye of Vladimir Putin.

 

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"Sonntag had charisma and an uncanny ability to channel the energy and anger of Gorbitz’s youth. They flocked to him, calling him the Sheriff."

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"He immediately became a martyr to the neo-Nazi movement, and his followers took out their rage on Dresden. First they rampaged through the Sex Shopping Center, making good on their vow to destroy it. Then, in the days, weeks, and months that followed, they unleashed terror on the city at large."

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"The East German prison system was practically a university for Nazism; lockup was filled with extremists, and war criminals flaunted their radical views and groomed new recruits. According to Ingo Hasselbach, a reformed far-right activist who spent time in prison in the late 1980s, on Adolf Hitler’s birthday Nazi prisoners would paint swastikas on toilet paper and fashion them into armbands."

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 “Our shoelaces were white, for white power, and I woke up one day and they were red. I thought, ‘Oh no no, I killed somebody.’ ”