Brazilian Neo-Nazis On Instagram And TikTok Post Antisemitic Content, Glorify Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, Joke About 'Domestic Terrorism,' Home-Made Bombs, Advocate 'Total War' To Defend Brazil

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July 14, 2023

Introduction

Nazism in Brazil began in the 1920s when large waves of German immigrants began arriving in the country due to the socioeconomic problems faced by Germany after World War I. At the time, large colonies of Germans began settling in states such as Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, where around 20 percent of the population was of German origin; in other states, such as Paraná, São Paulo, Espírito Santo, the percentages of German immigrants were smaller, but also significant. It is estimated, however, that of the total number of Germans who lived in Brazil at the time, less than five percent were affiliated with the Nazi Party. 

Historically, most Nazis in Brazil have resided in isolated communities in southern Brazil that preserved the German language and culture, with large numbers of them concentrating in São Paulo (mainly in Santo André), Rio de Janeiro, and Santa Catarina, where the first overseas cell of the Nazi party was born in 1928.  It would also be in Timbó, Santa Catarina, where the German-Brazilian (or Teuto-Brazilian) community, would become the largest section of the German Nazi Party outside Germany. In all, it is estimated that, with 89,071 Germans in Brazil in the 1940s, there were 2,822 Nazi-party members, and another 900,000 sympathizers. After Germany's defeat in World War II, many Nazis fled to Brazil and hid among the German-Brazilian communities. The most famous case was Josef Mengele, who lived hidden in the interior of São Paulo state from 1970 to 1979.

Today the Brazilian neo-Nazi movement is growing in size and influence in Brazil. According to a 2022 study, neo-Nazi groups have grown 270 percent in Brazil in the last three years and their online presence is spilling over into violent attacks.  Though some neo-Nazis in Brazil may be the direct descendants of the Nazi immigrants described above, most do not necessarily have German ancestry, but are mostly youth who argue they are fighting against the moral degradation of their country. Many youths have become radicalized as a result of the widespread promotion of LGBTQ rights in Brazil, and have found in antisemitic conspiracy theories the alleged answer to the origin of the movement. Adriana Dias, who studied the neo-Nazi movement in Brazil for over 20 years before she died in January 2023, estimated that in 2022 there were approximately 1,117 neo-Nazi cells in Brazil, [1] out of which she was able to outline 300, comprising about 5,000 extremists. This report will review the content that some of these neo-Nazis have published on Instagram and TikTok.

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Antisemitism Posts And Praise For Nazi Germany

Brazilian neo-Nazi Instagram accounts often post antisemitic content mixed with images glorifying the Third Reich. On June 16, 2023, one neo-Nazi user posted a reel in which he wrote, "Never will the Jew be able to expel me from this platform and forbid me from spreading the message." Following this statement, the reel featured multiple pictures of German children and youth wearing swastikas, as well as pictures of German soldiers carrying Nazi flags.

At the end of the reel the user announced he was "returning to activities" that is, to posting neo-Nazi content on social media.

On July 3, 2023, the user posted a reel in which he attributes to Léon Bloy the following words, "the Jews are not only guilty of having crucified Christ, but they are also condemned to repeat this gesture over and over again: since they are the ones who have the money, they crucify the poor every day (and finally money is nothing more than the blood of Christ flooding the planet)." If genuine, the text is likely taken out of context, as Bloy also said many favorable things about the Jews.

Antisemitism And Anti-LGBTQ Posts

Israeli and LGBTQ flags are frequently found together in neo-Nazi posts. On July 21, 2022 a neo-Nazi user posted the LGBTQ flag next to the Israeli flag and captioned the post, "If you like any of these flags, you are worthless." Similarly, another neo-Nazi account associates the two flags by featuring a cartoon of an American soldier looking at the both flags as though they were a picture of his sweetheart back home. The post is sarcastically captioned: "Remember what you're fighting for."

 

[1] G1.globo.com/fantastico/noticia/2022/10/23/policia-prende-grupo-de-jovens-acusados-de-neonazismo-em-sc.ghtml, Oct 23, 2022.

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