Gerhard Lauck is the real last Nazi and one of the first professional propagators of monetizing hate on the internet.

Gerhard — we who have lived in Lincoln, Nebraska have always known him as “Gary” even after he legally changed his name — is infamous in Nebraska.  He is variously known as “The Midwestern Nazi” and “The Farmbelt Gestapo” and “Little Hitler.”

Some in the community regard him as the crazy uncle in the attic.  Others seem him for what he is:  A dangerous man with vicious values. Gary Lauck is a clever, charming and incredibly smart guy.  He knows how to play people and how to manipulate the system and he is an expert at squeezing money out of hatred.

There is a mythic story about him.  Gary was his high school’s valedictorian in Lincoln.  During his speech to the assembled students and parents, Gary peeled off his cap and gown to reveal a Nazi uniform. He then raised him arm and began a public defense of Adolph Hitler in German that went on for awhile because no one knew what he was saying.

I have no idea if that myth is true or not but the story has a life of its own as a legend in Lincoln. Gary made his way in life by publishing Nazi propaganda from his bedroom in Lincoln and he was later imprisoned for four years in Germany for spreading hate speech material. He now makes his money — from his worldwide Lincoln, Nebraska bedroom headquarters — as the leading purveyor of hate online as the webhost of choice for 120 sites that are barred from having a website in their home countries.

The Anti-Defamation League considers Gary the number one distributor of neo-Nazi hate propaganda in the world. Gary sees himself as a liberator of “free speech” through his RJG Engineering webhost service where he charges $20 a month for publishing sites like NiggerMania.com in addition to pro-Nazi pages. In 1993, The German government said Lauck-published propaganda was found in the investigation of 72 crimes.

Here are a couple of Gary’s sites on the internet.  I haven’t hotlinked them — but I do identify them — so you can decide if you want to learn more or not:

  • Gary’s propaganda website: (www.nazi-lauck-nsdapao.com).
  • Gary’s take on his German imprisonment: (http://www.zensurfrei.com/federal-republic-of-germany-01.htm)

Is Gary Lauck the international protector of free speech — or is he merely using the “free speech” argument to foment hatred while lining his pockets? Should Gary Lauck be allowed to continue as he wishes — or should he be stopped?

57 Comments

  1. This type of thing makes me wonder about my crusade for *free speech* and my anti-censorship views.
    When such hatred and bile is pedalled under the *Free Speech* banner – it tests me considerably.
    To me this is an abuse of free speech.

  2. You mention a curious disconnect, Nicola, because there are some who view the possible outlawing of BDSM-type websites in the UK as appropriate and “in the same league” as the hate Gary publishes on his site.
    Are you forced to defend Gary’s position in order to cover your own best interests? If not, does that tempt the hypocrite label?
    The repression of sexual expression and the tamping down of free speech might share more common tethers than we realize.

  3. “Is Gary Lauck the international protector of free speech — or is he merely using the “free speech” argument to foment hatred while lining his pockets?”
    Option B, no doubt. No right-thinking individual could spout such rubbish unless they believed it, whatever they were attempting to prove.
    Besides, what he is doing is more harmful to free speech than helpful as it makes people (like Nicola) wonder whether it is right after all.
    Should he be allowed to do that?
    Unfortunately, yes, as long as he is not spreading out and out lies (I haven’t looked at his website – I really have no desire to as it is shortly dinner time here and I’d like to keep my appetite – I imagine if he is as intelligent as you say that, although he may twist the truth and push the boudaries, there is probably nothing out and out false there that could be construed as libellous).
    If he is spreading lies then the legal system can deal with him.
    If he is personally provoking violent acts then the legal system can probably deal with him.
    If, as I suspect, he is merely spouting hete-filled invective then that is his right.
    Just as it is everybody elses right to refute him, ignore him, take him to court, publicly humiliate him in debate or anything else that goes hand in hand with free speech.
    What we cannot do is take that right away from him.
    This is possibly the hardest test of free speech – to listen to something that is anaethema to us. It is vitally important that free speech passes that test every time.
    Cheers
    Mike

  4. “You mention a curious disconnect, Nicola, because there are some who view the possible outlawing of BDSM-type websites in the UK as appropriate and “in the same league” as the hate Gary publishes on his site.”
    That is the root of my dilemma – there are is some appalling “BDSM” material out there that I find equally as abhorrent as this man’s hateful propaganda.
    I am uncomfortable when I have to defend the “indefensible” whilst I fight for my freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
    “Are you forced to defend Gary’s position in order to cover your own best interests? If not, does that tempt the hypocrite label?”
    I do not defend his position – his anger, his hatred – but I will ( however distasteful I find him and his message ) reluctantly defend his right to free speech. As Mike says “What we cannot do is take that right away from him.” Because in doing that we take away our own rights to free speech.
    “The repression of sexual expression and the tamping down of free speech might share more common tethers than we realize.”
    I wish my good friend L was available – he would be able to give me all the research that links the two phenomena.
    In times of tension/ war , when governments feel they are under attack they clamp down on most freedoms of expression.

  5. urbanspaceman —
    Well, it’s interesting that Gary is using the USA ideal of “Free Speech” to help publish the hateful, illegal, speech of folks in other countries who cannot get published online in their home nation.
    So, in some ways, he’s the icon of American idealism in that he allows others to be heard across the world even though they are not welcome in their home country.
    I confess there’s something innately attractive about that idea even if what is being promoted is distasteful. I’m all for hate speech being expressed instead of expressed so it can be shouted down and dealt with in real time.
    Gary is a genius in that he knows just how far to press the line between legality and illegality. Sometimes he gets ensnared in that line when he wanders beyond the USA — as he did when he was caught in Denmark and deported to Germany for prosecution — but he has a pretty hardy handle on the game that allows him to be a modern Nazi in the face of historical hatred and despise against everything he stands for… and yet he appears to be making a tidy profit and laughs all the way to the bank.

  6. Nicola!
    I feel for your dilemma and I realize that if your site gets outlawed in the UK, Gary would be one alternative for you:
    (http://www.zensurfrei.com/freedomofspeech/index.html)
    Even though I know you don’t support his positions, you might enjoy the advocacy he provides:
    (http://www.zensurfrei.com/germanyinformation/index.html)
    Here are his hosting terms:

    175MB web-site + 8GB data transfer per month + ten genuine POP3 email addresses.
    Domain Name registration is FREE for first year! – No setup charge! No registration charge! Only 20,00 €/month (US$20.00/month), ie 60,00 €/quarter (US$60.00/quarter)!
    ANONYMOUS WEB-SITES ARE POSSIBLE! The domain name is registered in the name of a U.S. firm. Even our firm does not need to know your identity. (Payment can be sent with an anonymous letter with reference to your web-site.)
    Political repression is increasing in Europe! European webmasters can reduce their risk by moving their web-sites to the USA!
    ZENSURFREI establishes your web-site with one of the largest and most reliable servers in the USA. Pay by the quarter or by the year. We accept Euro banknotes or US Dollar banknotes, no coins.
    It’s fast, easy and convenient! On request we will – without cost or obligation – check to see if your desired domain name (ending with .com, .net or .org) is still available. (It is best to tell us a few alternative domain names to check out at the same time.)
    If you order a web-site from us, we register the domain name and establish your web-site account. This is almost always completed within 24 hours! You can start downloading your files right away. (Although the domain name does not start to function for a few days, your web-site is nonetheless already accessible via the IP address.)

    (http://www.zensurfrei.com/#Secure%20Websites%20in%20the%20USA%20!)

  7. Nicola, interesting comparison with the BDSM but I’m not sure it stands up.
    While that’s certainly not to my taste it is a consensual act between 2 adults and I can choose not to view related materials if I so choose. They then won’t have any adverse effect on myself or anybody else.
    Racist propoganda, on the other hand, can have a negative effect on a great many people. Even then I feel that it should be every person’s right to put forward their views, however blatantly wrong, nasty or stupid they may be.
    If you want a comparison I’d say that creationism is closer to the mark. This is something I find abhorrent when it’s passed on to children – especially in schools. But in the home I (grudgingly) accept that I have no right to control what a parent tells a child about the creation myth (even though, to my mind, it is bordering on child abuse).
    David:
    I know my meaning came across – I just don’t like rereading things and seeing typos and grammatical errors 😉
    His hosting terms are interesting. I’m pretty sure they make him a prime target for terrorist investigations though … I wonder just what groups (other than nazis) use his services?
    Cheers
    Mike

  8. urbanspaceman —
    I agree. Typos are ugly and I always fix mine here if I happen across them… because I can. 😆
    Well, as I linked to an informational reference site in my article, NiggerMania.com is one site he hosts. I also believe he does big business mirroring sites that follow the beliefs of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party).

  9. I’d say both those sites come pretty close to being nazi sites …
    What I was wondering is if he’s hosting any genuine terrorist sites – al-qaeda, ETA etc. It certainly wondn’t surprise me. That’s why I thought he’s highly likely to be under investigation. Doesn’t the patriot act allow the government to seize his records and check this? I’m surprised they haven’t with his profile …

  10. urbanspaceman —
    I don’t think he does terrorist sites. I think he’s more a dedicated Naziest with affection for standard racial and religious hate sites. To actually host a terrorist mirror would, indeed, get his whole operation shut down rather quickly — so I think he sticks mainly to protected speech matters and not sites that suggest punishment directly devoted to the USA government.

  11. “While that’s certainly not to my taste it is a consensual act between 2 adults and I can choose not to view related materials if I so choose. They then won’t have any adverse effect on myself or anybody else.”
    Mike I agree with you – and I so wish everybody else did – but unfortunately the likes of Vernon Coaker disagree – and that they are determined to make the world safer for us by making it an offence to download such material onto your computer. Possession of a certain type of image will be a crime.
    David – none of the images on my website would fall foul of of the proposed new act – several of my original signed prints from photographer China Hamilton might as well as a historical collection of torture pictures on DVD – and some of my teaching materials could well do.
    The question is IF push came to shove would my free speech needs override my personal repugnance at what this man is doing?

  12. Nicola —
    Right! I’ve seen much of your website and it is calm and delightful and helpful. However, I’ve also seen other, harder, sites that depict acts that others may not cotton to on a publicly accessible level… even though I think they’re fine and fascinating…
    I hope you would choose, ultimately, if it came down to it… to “pay a Gary” to keep your message and spirit alive on the internet. Sometimes the definition of “repugnant” changes in the face of direct oppression and social censorship.

  13. This most essential right is indeed a dangerous double edged sword, but this I think cannot be helped. Free speech must be protected first and foremost, by its own definition in the service of Democracy, even as therein lies the price: our liberty ends where the next person’s begins.
    While free speech is a pillar of Democracy it has often been used as a tool to kill it. But limiting free speech will only cripple the democratic ideal further, turning it into a self-detrimental vicious circle. Those who wish to protect freedom of speech must have open eyes to identify “danger” but all the same are bound by this to endure the consequences.
    History is permeated with examples of sugarcoated intentions and deceit behind an image of righteousness, security, and messianic leadership to tempt the uninformed, the insecure and the weak, especially in trying times.
    Since this kind of perilous propaganda knows no frontiers and free speech must be preserved I believe strengthening international law and political cooperation, with that goal strongly in mind, is the best way to try to ensure freedom is protected without compromising individual beliefs and each one’s right to divulge them, “wrong” as they may be.
    This may be achieved by creating a set of circumstances [i.e. laws] that are legally unbreachable, the result being: one may preach (even their madness if need be) to any that will care to hear, and they may act on it as long as it doesn’t compromise the (then) established Democratic Right. This should happen not only internally but preferably on an international scale. In many places, steps have been and are taken in this direction already. For example, any country within the European Union would be hard put to go against common law: (http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/s90000.htm / http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/s22000.htm). And yet there are countless active extreme right and left wing political parties in almost every EU nation, but this kind of unity acts as a successful restraint while preserving free speech.
    It is a shame that the level of international political and juridical cooperation we experience today (while there is still much to do) was inexistent and/or insufficient in certain critical points in world history to prevent certain situations from arising and taking firm root, to such a point where it may be disastrous to interfere with them now. (We are by no means lacking in sad examples where diplomacy has so far been ineffective or even harmful, throughout the world, and where the absence of free speech incites other, usually destructive ways of “being heard”.)
    But while measures are and have been taken to protect Democracy from dangerous propaganda it is far from being a harmless reality.
    A colleague I met this year, some years younger, was completely fascinated with Nazi ideas. We discussed his choice and it didn’t take me long to confirm my initial suspicion that his “infatuation” with it was not only puerile, but also uniformed and whimsical. He parroted a lot of neo-nazi maxims without having given any serious, mature thought of the implications or overall meaning.
    In everything he said I countered him rationally, logically, morally, not to mention that he contradicted himself so many times trying to promote his ideas – as if historical fact alone was not enough – that in the end he was forced to agree to the absurdity of such beliefs: there was just no way to sell Nazism or any such ideological variant as a good thing.
    Of course he is young, and while I am young as well the wheels in my head are always turning and I never subscribe to an idea without knowing exactly what it consists of, carefully pondering it from all perspectives and angles as I can conceive.
    Unfortunately there are many unprepared young (and older) minds like him searching for models and “heroes” to follow without serious consideration of right or wrong, just because it looks “cool” to be revolutionary for the sake of revolution, appear shocking or simply rebellious, becoming easy prey to all sorts of devious propaganda.
    I take one look at young Neo-Nazis worshiping Rudolf Hess and wonder… Why would they worship such a man? If Hitler’s insanity was not clinically proved Hess’s at least was quite evident. So is that the kind of icon they wish to follow, a madman and his deranged writings…?
    It makes me feel there must be at best a serious lack of information or disposition to seek it or even to heed it, or a grave dysfunction in the upbringing of these individuals at worst.
    In this light, society’s most basic institution – family – has an essential role in protecting Democracy from the abuse of free speech. Where a righteous, sound set of moral values (and fortunately these may vary greatly) isn’t passed on from an early stage there is always potential to contrive a future threat.
    Free speech may be dangerous but it is far sounder than it is dangerous. It’s simply choosing a lesser evil. If “for the greater good” we deny or presume to moderate free speech, which is the essential basis of Democracy, it will follow that any essential right is allowed to be manipulated in the same manner, and that would unleash an even greater menace.

  14. That’s an interesting comment, iris. Is all speech free? Should one be able to publish a website full of Racial slurs and suggestive images that suggest violence and killing to weaker minds? Should one ever be legally responsible for the words they speak?
    Not all speech is protected or even considered free in the USA. Threatening to kill someone is illegal. You cannot libel someone. You cannot shout “Fire!” in a crowded theatre when there is no fire.
    What purpose does a website that celebrates the Holocaust as a good thing serve in society? If you argue a site like that celebrates free speech — there are many people who argue a site like that accomplishes just the opposite.

  15. A website celebrating the Holocaust serves no purpose but to express the personal opinion of the person who created it and – in essence – it would be wrong to deny them the right to express it.
    If I was given a choice to ban those sites I’ fear I’d have to decline, against even my personal wish. I couldn’t continue endorsing the right to “free speech” and ban such sites at the same time. It would be hypocritical of me (even if well intended).
    But it is a difficult decision, to be the good dictator or a passive liberal. Faced with that choice, what would you do?

  16. And yes, everyone should be held responsible for their words, that’s the price they agree to pay for having the right to speak them in the first place.
    But we must not judge them (legally) for the words alone, only unless said words translate into action, trampling another’s rights, thus breaking laws. That’s the line they have to cross; it’s up to us (legal systems) to establish the parameters.
    Words have consequences. And if it can be somehow determined that words translate into injurious action, then yes, those words should be forbidden (as in the examples you give David).

  17. I don’t think all speech deserves to be free, iris.
    The Holocaust deniers have but one reason for propagating their lies against history: They are bigoted and Racist and they want to continue to torture the Jews.
    Now one can reasonably argue purpose, intent and execution of the Holocaust, but no one can deny Jews were killed at Auschwitz and Treblinka and Bergen-Belsen and in other concentration camps.
    Publishing a website full of lies against history and mankind that are known — by those at least who know history — only damages freedom.
    I also do not believe “Intelligent Design” should be given the same hearing or access that “Evolution” deserves because there is a political and religious mandate in the ID movement to destroy history and make the world 6,000 years old and not 4.5 billion.
    There are pornographers that believe explicit images of females in bleeding bondage — with pencils in their cervix and knives against their throats — are free speech and should be treated as such on the internet. Do you support those pornographers in your argument?
    Half of the comments submitted on this blog each day never get published because they violate our comments policy. People curse or insult me or other commenters or they are just looking to make trouble or they fake an identity. They claim I am censoring them. They always argue “freedom of speech” against our publication policy. I ask you: Am I repressing free speech, or am I protecting it?

  18. iris —
    The problem with using the law as the moral judge for what speech should be free or not is that the law is malleable and ever-changing. What is indecent in South Caroline is the everyday in New York.
    What is hate speech in Germany is considered free expression in the USA.
    Reasonableness and Truthfulness are good standards — but they will still vary from community to community and country to country.

  19. There’s no point in speaking of free speech unless it is indeed free.
    Difficult questions, but ultimately I must maintain that unless someone else’s rights are in actuality denied instead of just verbally jeopardized, free speech must prevail.
    Of course if it can be determined, as I stated earlier, that words are behind injurious action, or if harm can take effect through words without breaking the law, then the law should be revised to prevent those situations and such words be prohibited. I’m sure what can be applied to shouting “fire” in theaters can be extended to more pressing, fundamental spheres as ethnicity or racial identity, etc.
    By moderating the comments on your site you are exercising your rights over the content. You set the rules and people either submit and get their comment published or not. But you’re holding the “blue pencil” and I’m sure they are aware of that before cursing you or breaking the rules you yourself have set.

  20. Indeed, that’s why I said strengthning international law and cooperation would be a better approach, because it cannot happen unless all parties find a common ground. The EU is a good example.
    But if we cannot use the law as the moral judge for what speech should be free or not then I don’t know what will do the job. Law should be the ultimate, hopefully impartial, judge.

  21. Good for Gary! I do so hope the blessed ACLU is defending his rights under the Constitution.
    Vile as he is, he has the right to spew whatever filth he wants. Sad ain’t it – but the alternative is far worse.

  22. Iris,
    David has never failed to approve my posts and I’m a regular “dissenter” here. He has only made minor modifications such as removal of hot-links (while leaving or adding text for the URL) and editing out excessive profanity via %$#@
    I don’t think your analogy is completely corect.

  23. jonolan —
    You make a good point: I don’t edit comments here to change their content or argument. Never have. Never will. I just choose not to publish the comment or I entirely delete it if the comment gets published.
    I do, however, sometime edit a comment to remove a phone number, a Spammy link, a colloquial curse word or some other small violation our our policy — but those “edited” comments then always get a notation that they were edited for content.

  24. Well you are mistaken, you should read above. I was merely answering to David’s question:
    «Half of the comments submitted on this blog each day never get published because they violate our comments policy. People curse or insult me or other commenters or they are just looking to make trouble. They claim I am censoring them. They always argue “freedom of speech” against our publication policy. I ask you: Am I repressing free speech, or am I protecting it?»
    So what I said was basically that David was not trampling anyone’s right to free speech he was simply exercising his right to moderate the content of his own blog.

  25. David–
    I was going to pass on this topic as I’m having a lovely Saturday morning with my cup of coffee.
    Because I can’t even look at this guy let alone fathom the “clever, smart, and charming” reference.
    The Germans were kind to imprison him for four years. My thoughts of what to do with him involve “lampshades.” Then perhaps he would get the idea!
    The “guise” of free speech is a sorry excuse for his destructive propaganda. He’s a mother’s worst nightmare . . .
    I have no problem shutting down a guy like this. The question is how does one do that!
    One would hope he would self-destruct, but that looks like wishful thinking.
    I can’t help but feel like any sort of public discussion about him is feeding him even more, but on the other hand, as we all know, looking the other way is even more dangerous . . .
    P.S. Ron Paul is looking quite sane and logical to me right now!

  26. I appreciate the comment, dmtessi.
    Gary is clever — but that’s not a compliment.
    He is no doubt smart — he’s managed to pretty much stay out of jail while still keeping his message alive. You have to be smart in order to know where the line is, press against it, without going over it and breaking the law. I think he’s done this by being a “common carrier” — to use networking term — by not being the author or the instigator, but by merely publishing and providing a conduit for dissemination.
    You also have to be charming and even charismatic to get people to buy into what you’re selling.
    I’m not sure what to do about it, either. We can ignore the issue, and the cruelty thrives in darkness. Or we can discuss what’s happening and shed some light on it and hope, as more good people become aware of the dark side, the more we can work together to bring the whole matter into the bright light for harsh examination.

  27. While I cherish our right to free speech in the U.S., I likewise cannot find much sympathy for a man who goes to prison for spreading Nazi propaganda. I guess I’m not liberal enough to compassionate a Nazi.
    WAC

  28. OK, I personally hate what this jerk is saying, but I have previously sworn an oath (US Armed Forces) to defend his Constitutional right to say it. I’m kind of in a bind on this one.
    There’s a semi-famous historical quote that is very apropos for America:

    I would rather be exposed to the inconvenience attending too much Liberty than those attending too small degree of it
    — Thomas Jefferson

  29. It’s not so much that one cannot ever recant an oath, but that the willingness to swear such an oath in first place puts an obligation on one not to blithely violate its precepts later – even after that oath is no longer valid.
    How can I claim now that he cannot exercise his Freedom of Speech when I previously swore to die if needs be to defend his right to do so?

  30. I guess, jonolan, I’m not sure of the value of an oath if the job that required the allegiance is no longer active. Perhaps time and tide, one could argue, and the acquiring of more autonomous humanity might make a previous oath unnecessary?

  31. I’m not sure what you mean by that, iris.
    Loyalty oaths, like the one jonolan had to swear by in order to be employed by the US Armed Forces, are conditional and temporary.
    Oaths to swear to tell the truth in a court of law are also temporary and conditional. Once one leaves the witness stand one can return to their values and even their own lying ways.
    “Oaths of Office” are also only valid for as long as the office is held.

  32. I mean obviously that it brings the subject above of whether one should be legally responsible for the words they speak in a whole new light, in which the value of our words becomes relative instead of absolute, turning oaths into trivial and shallow acts instead of solemn and genuine.

  33. Hi David,
    I have never heard of this man before and reading about him makes me think about his agenda.
    What is he upto?
    As a coin has two sides – I understand there are people who spread hatred and they firmly believe in their action.
    Sometimes people use negative attention as an easy way out for cash.
    However, I don’t think spreading Hitler’s fanatical idealism in the name of free speech should be continued.