After 4 years in German jail, American neo-Nazi deported

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FRANKFURT — Germany is deporting neo-Nazi Gary Lauck to the United States, following his completion of a four-year sentence on hate-crimes charges.

Lauck, of Lincoln, Neb., is known in the United States as the "Farmbelt Fuhrer" because of his Hitler mustache, his feigned German accent and his rabidly anti-Semitic views.

Lauck was convicted by a Hamburg court in August 1996 on charges of inciting racial hatred, distributing neo-Nazi propaganda and using banned Nazi symbols.

While his speeches and pamphlets are shielded by U.S. First Amendment protections, they are criminal offenses in Germany.

Lauck's sentence, which included time already served prior to his conviction by the Hamburg court, ended last Friday.

Until his arrest, Lauck was one of the world's largest publishers of neo-Nazi materials.

At his trial, prosecutors said Lauck's Nebraska publishing empire was for two decades the main supplier in Germany of Nazi and neo-Nazi literature, stickers, arm bands, banners and signs.

A request by Lauck more than a year ago to serve the rest of his sentence in the United States was turned down by German authorities, who said they feared he would resume sending his propaganda material to Germany.

At the time of sentencing, the Hamburg court said the clear intent of the "NS-Battle Cry" — an anti-Semitic, pro-Hitler newsletter published by Lauck and widely distributed in Germany — was to frighten Jewish people, who are frequently depicted in the newsletter as deadly enemies and sub-humans.

The court also said Lauck displayed no historical knowledge about the Nazi era.

Lauck's four-year prison sentence was not his first encounter with the German authorities.

During a speaking tour of Germany in 1974, he was deported after giving a speech in Hamburg. Two years later, he was detained for four months and subsequently deported after being convicted of illegally entering the country and distributing neo-Nazi propaganda.

In March 1995, Danish authorities arrested Lauck on the basis of an international arrest warrant when he was attending a neo-Nazi convention in Denmark.

After a prolonged legal battle, Denmark extradited Lauck to Germany, where he was tried and convicted in 1996.

Lauck will be accompanied by German border guards on his flight from Germany to Chicago.