Česky English Deutsch Francais
Hardbass – we will bring Heil Hitler to your home
16-08-2011 - Rob Cameron
There’s an obscure new trend spreading throughout Central and Eastern Europe - groups of youths from Belgrade to Bratislava to Brno dancing in public to a hardcore Russian techno track, and then posting videos on YouTube. It sounds harmless enough, but the problem is the lyrics have a neo-Nazi subtext.

Photo: YouTube This is one of dozens, maybe hundreds of videos posted in recent months on YouTube. To say they’re repetitive is something of an understatement.

They all feature groups of young men dancing in public – some of them, it has to be said, with almost comic clumsiness – to a subgenre of techno called Hardbass, and a particular permutation of it featuring lyrics in Russian. The song features the following phrase. “We will bring Hardbass to your home. 1 4, 8 8.”

What does that mean, I hear you ask. Well, as the internet daily Czech Position first noted, the numbers 1 4 8 8 have a special significance to the far-right: 14 is the number of words in the manifesto of American white separatist David Lane: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The eighth letter of the alphabet is H – 88 means Heil Hitler. Patrik Banga is a Romani or gypsy journalist who frequently covers far-right demonstrations.

Patrik Banga “The fact that they’re organised neo-Nazis already makes it a threat in my eyes. If someone wants to play techno with racist lyrics in a club, if there are forty of them underground somewhere giving the Hitler salute, well, fine, let them go ahead. But if they’re doing it in public, that’s different. If I get a swastika tattooed on my arm then I should be arrested. So if they’re displaying any racist behaviour in public, they should be arrested too.”

Confusingly, only some of the youths in the videos – posted from Czech cities such as Ostrava, Zlín and most recently Prague - appear to be far-right sympathisers, decked out in Thor Steindal hoodies, balaclavas and ski-masks. Others seem to be football hooligans or just bored teenagers.

There’s been a proliferation of so-called Hardbass attacks – similar to flash mobs - across Central and Eastern Europe in recent months, most notably in Serbia, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. So should we be worried? Not necessarily, says the country’s foremost expert on far-right extremism, Miroslav Mareš, from Brno’s Masaryk University.

“OK, we can find some links to neo-Nazism, directly in this Russian song, but in connection with this stupid presentation, it has only limited impact on public opinion as well as on right-wing extremist scene. We can find strong opposition against this trend within the right-wing extremist scene.”

Photo: YouTube Judging from the chatter on far-right websites, there does seem to be some murmuring of disapproval amongst more senior members of the country’s active neo-Nazi movement, who dismiss Hardbass as too closely associated with left-wing and anarchist groups.

So far the spattering of Czech Hardbass attacks seem to have passed off without incident, although a group of youths was ejected from the Prague metro for disturbing fellow passengers. Some citizens – perhaps those with a smattering of Russian – may be more than slightly alarmed to hear boot-stomping youths threatening to bring ‘Heil Hitler’ to their homes.

Related articles
01.08.2017Romany rapper Radek Banga to receive František Kriegel Award for civic courageNews
08.02.2016Far-right focus on migrants taking heat of Roma at least for now, says Czechs Against Czechs maker Tomáš KratochvílNews
25.11.2014Social Democrat leadership up in arms over local government coalition with ultra-right partyNews
25.11.2014Political commentator Jiří Pehe: Duchcov coalition could seriously damage the Social DemocratsNews
20.11.2013Ministry aims to employ 1,000 new officers in troubled areasNews
17.11.2013Ring-wing extremists, opponents gather in PragueNews
07.11.2013Intelligence service report: corruption and economic problems are fuelling extremismNews
19.10.2013Over 300 take part in anti-Roma demonstration in OstravaNews
12.09.2013Brochures for schools to help combat racial prejudice and extremismNews
All related articles
Format for printing
Send as e-mail

Also in section "News"
31.10.19  Roma children’s choir Chavorenge and members of the Czech Philharmonic to perform in UK
13.09.19  Archaeologists discover graves of Roma persecuted during WWII in Lety camp
02.06.19  Ida Kelarová and her Romany children’s choir Chavorenge
29.05.19  Two Roma activists to receive Charter 77’s František Kriegel Award
07.04.19  Romany music from the Czech Republic
13.03.19  Czech singer Věra Bílá, dubbed the Ella Fitzgerald of Gypsy music, dies days before her comeback tour
21.11.18  Roma social worker from Ostrava listed on BBC 100 Women list
12.10.18  Why are there so few Roma politicians?
17.09.18  Virtuoso pianist Tomáš Kačo: When I tell somebody I’m a Gypsy in the US, they’re excited about it
06.06.18  Study indicates ethnic hate is contagious
Archive of the section

Most popular articles
3153053   26.02.00 Some Basic Information about the Roma Population in the Czech Republic
290319   27.01.05 The 'Devouring': A look at the Romani Holocaust
184516   26.02.00 The History and Origin of the Roma
141463   26.02.02 The Language of the Roma
107706   13.06.00 The History of the Roma Minority in the Czech Republic
105260   26.02.00 The Traditional Family Life of the Czech Roma
103929   02.06.03 The Roma Holocaust
88238    World famous Roma Personalities
88174   21.02.04 Extreme right activists demonstrate for skinhead in jail
74801    Photographs by Romani Children
Copyright © Český rozhlas / Czech Radio, 1997-2023
Vinohradská 12, 120 99 Praha 2, Czech Republic