Germany has banned the extreme-right group known as Sturmbrigade 44 or Wolfsbrigade 44. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer accused the organization of aiming to "rebuild the former Nazi state."
Sturmbrigade 44, Wolfsbrigade 44: The names sound militaristic — like war and aggression, like the name of an uncompromisingly fierce unit.
Members of the group wear its insignia in large white old-style German script lettered on their shirts and jackets. It is a look, a menacing style, that they wear with pride at militant gatherings. They see it as a statement, a philosophy.
For outsiders, it is certainly a threatening sight — even though many people may not be aware of the group's intent.
Dirlewanger, who later received the SS honor the Knight's Cross, is revered by the now-banned Sturmbrigade 44. The number 4 stands for the fourth letter of the alphabet, D, so the 44 means "Division Dirlewanger."
Despite all the well-meaning rhetoric, there still appear to be plenty of places around Germany where far-right hatred and incitement are rife. And the reverence devoted to the mass murderer SS officer is all perfectly legal under the initials "SKD," German for "Special Commando Dirlewanger." There are also plenty of right-rock bands and festivals, where the Aryan Brotherhood of prominent neo-Nazi Thorsten Heise and his followers provide security. Their emblem? Two crossed hand grenades: the symbol of the SS's Dirlewanger Brigade.