In the summer of 2023, various neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations across Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, and New Zealand, held summer camps to attract recruits and disseminate neo-Nazi ideology These camps were promoted through concerted efforts on social media platforms, including Telegram and Gab.
Select organizations employed graphics in their social media advertising to attract youth and families by promoting the camps as family friendly. These camps featured a wide range of activities, including ideological indoctrination, workshops on activism, sessions on combat skills, and physical training.
These camps serve a crucial role as recruitment hubs for the host organization. Groups often employ social media campaigns with engaging graphics and promotional content to advertise the upcoming camps. The ads call for applications, which are subject to vetting processes. Post-event, these groups disseminate photos and videos to galvanize their online communities, urge supporters to join the movement, and elevate the host organization’s status within the local and global neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements.
The ideology propagated at these camps varies. It is predominately neo-Nazism, white supremacy, and ultranationlism. Physical activities included lessons in hand-to-hand combat, knives, and firearms. Recreational activities such as hiking, camping, and survival skills training are also featured in many groups examined in this report.
This report is an update to MEMRI DTTM's previous coverage on this topic, first released in 2021, and subsequently updated in 2022.
This report is a compilation of posts by, and activities of, international neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups that held summer camps in 2023.
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Table Of Contents
Members of a neo-Nazi group from Victoria and South Australia convened to attend a camping trip in the countryside. A photo posted by the group on Telegram shows several individuals giving Nazi salutes. The post on the channel wrote, "Over Hitler's birthday weekend, [members] attended the fashy bush doof and camping trip. We sang, danced and traded war stories around the camp fire. We also engaged in our very own State of origin, equal numbers ultra style fight in the bush. It was a great time and our brotherhood continues to grow stronger, can't wait to see you all again."
A Belarussian neo-Nazi paramilitary posted photos on August 11 showing its group members attending a youth camp in Ukraine. Photos from the camp show several dozen youths wearing military uniforms, some with patches, posing with the organization’s flag and engaged in combat simulations. The post states, "a soldier of the … battalion … took part in the organization of a children's camp in Ternopil, together with his Ukrainian friend… During his vacation, [he] popularized the Belarusian theme among Ukrainian youth. Boys and girls signed the flag of the … Regiment and wished us victory over the common enemy. We believe that in the near future Belarusian children will be proud to study the real Belarusian history and Belarusian heroes, without the so-called Russian trace. As long as there are such young people - Long live Belarus!"
In April 2023, a Finnish Telegram channel began promoting a "White Boys Summer" festival to take place from June 16-17, 2023. In a post shared in early June, the group promoted the event as follows: "Welcome to the White Boy Summer Fest! Tickets: €30 one day, €50 two days. The event will take place in the same area as last year. However, the venue itself is not the same, but about a 15-minute drive from last year's location.
During the event, the group shared several photos of the bands performing in an undisclosed location, possibly in Tuulos or in its vicinity, and its members singing against the backdrop of Swastika flags.