What’s in the mind of the neo-Nazi next door? A personal reflection on the rise and persistence of Golden Dawn in Greece

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This is the tenth article in our series Trouble on the­ Far-Right. For more information on the series, please click here.
Logo: Strike a Light by Rob Howard under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

by Angélique Kourounis


How can a racist party that was getting less than 0.­­2% of the vote for years, enter parliament with 18 MPs? How can a party that promotes violence, hate, sexism and murders amplify its reach after each pogrom? How can Golden Dawn remain the third political power in Greece for four years? And what’s in the mind of a Golden Dawner?

It’s with these questions that I began filming Golden Dawn. A Personal Affair, in late 2009. But the more I was getting on with the research, the more I realized that my motive was fear. With a father-in-law and a grandmother in the Resistance, a mother-in-law that had to take off the yellow star in order to pass through enemy lines and bring back food to her family, with an uncle and an aunt who returned from Auschwitz, I was brought up with stories of the War. A world that, I was told, would never exist again. Is it so, then?

As I gathered more and more images, I was getting the feeling that no, it isn’t like that.


Still from the movie.

How could someone be a Golden Dawner today?

I was obsessed with the men in black: “How could someone be a Golden Dawner today?” I had this question every single day. To this day still, after five years of research, the question remains. I don’t have an answer. The crisis is certainly not the only explanation. Those who choose and vote for the Golden Dawn have various, different motives.

What I know, though, is that they are extremely dangerous especially because few people take them seriously. Golden Dawn “never hid” its ideology. Its influence in the polls might have been almost none existent previously, but the compatibility of this ideology with unshakeable beliefs in Greece - cultivated by many clergymen and most of the Media and political system is the fertile ground on which the organization flourishes.

As a director I was looking into the matter through my personal obsessions, my concerns and fears, having dedicated many years and another two television documentaries in approaching the neo-Nazi party, which has taken the third position in Greece’s political system after three decades of obscure but bloody activity.

The financial collapse of Greece, the political instability and family relations are in the spotlight as the documentary is trying to discover what’s in the head of Golden Dawners, who pose as victims of the system.


Still from the movie.

Questions unanswered

This film is not answering all the questions I have had. Anyway, I do hope that it is revealing enough evidence for all to understand how dangerous Golden Dawn is.

In the end there’s no difference at all between Golden Dawn’s “Greece to Greeks” and the Nazi inscription “Jude” on Jewish shops: In both cases, society did not react.

After the release of the documentary on 15 March 2016 at the 18th Thessaloniki documentary festival, the film makers will tour throughout Germany to present and discuss their work. We are pleased to share the dates here:

  • 11.04.: Berlin, Moviemento, 7:00 PM
  • 13.04.: Göttingen, Theaterkeller, 8:30 PM
  • 14.04.: Jena, JG-Stadtmitte, 7:00 PM
  • 15.04.: Frankfurt, Landungsbrücken, 7:30 PM
  • 17.04.: München, Griechisches Haus, 8:00 PM
  • 18.04.: Dresden, Thalia Kino, 8:00 PM

For more information check the film website.

Angelique Kourounis

© Heloise Jouanard

Angélique Kourounis is a French-Greek film maker who produced various documentaries on Greece in condition of crisis especially for French and Swiss broadcasts. She is committed to feminist and migrant struggles in Greece and beyond.

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