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Front of German Apples (Germany)

Front Deutscher Äpfel,  FDÄ

Last modified: 2017-01-21 by pete loeser
Keywords: apples |
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[Front Deutscher Äpfel] Image by Pete Loeser, 20 February 2016
(Cleaned up and resized by Tomislav Todorović, 28 February 2016)

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Introduction: Front of German Apples
Front Deutscher Äpfel

     This "only true national movement" - a thorough spoof on the extreme right - is engaged in defending Boskopismus (Grannysmithism) against Bananentum (bananity). Also known as the Äpfelfront (Apple Front), FDÄ may be looked up on YouTube where various flags, brassards, etc. will show up prominently. A vertical hanging flag also exists, it appears in this filmlet (also showing a direct confrontation with right wingers).
Jan Mertens, 15 December 2009

     The Front of German Apples, or German Apple Front, is an unusual political group that is intent on fighting far-right politics in Germany. They do so by ridiculing the far-right political culture. Although the FDÄ appears more like a satirical group of performing artists at first glance, they attempt to show how senseless and absurd extreme-nationalism is by mimicking and making fun of the extremist activities and sometimes even demonstrating alongside the real radicals and neo-Nazis.
     They dress up in uniforms resembling the black NSDAP Schutzstaffel, or SS uniforms and wear the red armbands replacing the swastikas in the white circle with apples, ranting and raving in their performances like the National Socialist demigods of old. They use their NSDAP-like Fahne fúr den Straßenkampf (Flag for Street Fighting) and parade banners poking fun at neo-Nazis by manipulating their symbols and slogans.
     The German Apple Front was founded in the city of Leipzig in 2004 by Alf Thum and has since fostered a similar satirical political group in Hungary known as the Hungarian Garlic Front.
Pete Loeser, 20 February 2016

Original "Flag for Street Fighting" c2004
Fahne fúr den Straßenkampf

[Front Deutscher Äpfel] Image by André Coutanche, 18 September 2006

     In East Germany some right extreme parties have had some success in state elections - the NPD in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in 2006 would be an example. The Front of German Apples's (Front Deutscher Äpfel) philosophy is that it is not necessary to fight against such extreme right parties; they are only worth laugh at. Thus the FDÄ was founded to "liberate Germany from foreign fruits."
J. Patrick Fischer, 18 September 2006

     This earlier version of the Fahne fúr den Straßenkampf was found in an early satirical pamphlet published by the group. The pears in the canton seem to have now disappeared in newer versions of their "Flag for Street Fighting." They had loudly proclaimed "Citrus fruits out! It is unacceptable, that German children with bananas and oranges grow up to no longer appreciate the nutritional value of a good German Apple or a pure juicy pear. Therefore: Close borders to foreign fruit!" Apparently, pears are no longer an issue.
Pete Loeser, 20 February 2016

Flag for Street Fighting (without the pears) c2006
Fahne fúr den Straßenkampf

[FDA variant] Image by Marcus Schmöger, 19 September 2006

     The FDÄ, or Front of German Apples (Front Deutscher Äpfel) is a slightly controversial organisation. Their use of openly Nazi-alluding symbolism is not greeted with widespread support, because from a distance you would not actually recognize the apple, but just a black thing in a white circle on a red field. Interestingly, at least twice the German media mistook the FDÄ for the "real thing", namely the NPD. A report of the MDR (Central German Broadcasting Company) did this in August, and another report (at least implicitly) last Sunday, when the ZDF showed FDÄ activists while reporting on the NPD. Yesterday's Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote, that the FDÄ uses essentially the same flag as the NPD, except for the apple; this is certainly not true, as the NPD flag is quite different.
     As Jan Patrick mentioned, the flag of the FDÄ is actually in use. However, the flags they showed in Schwerin (capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) were slightly different from the design shown in the pdf (and extracted by André), mainly lacking the pears in the canton. They looked quite homemade to me.  [Here is a more recent photo showing Apple Front activists in their typical uniforms with satirized right extremist symbols and bearing.]
Marcus Schmöger, 19 September 2006

Mock Gau Pommern Banner and Standard

[FDA Gau Pommern Banner] Image from Heiner Storch, 23 February 2016

[Editorial Note: Heiner Storch or Storch Heinar are the nicknames for the antifascist movement. This name is the antipode for the German neoNazi-fashion label "Thor Steiner".]

     A fourth kind of flag is the vexillum, of course, fashioned after the Nazi example (hanging vertically, crossbar with symbol, tassels, etc.) Gau Pommern (Region Pommern) may in itself be a joke as pomme is French for "apple". The slogan reads Apfel gedeihe! (Apple prosper!).
Jan Mertens, 15 December 2009

I expect this was the only Gau in the movement, created because of the pun: Pomme (French) translating into "Apple".
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 18 February 2016

     A Gau is a very old name for a subdivision or district, and was in use by the very first German kings in the early Middle Ages. It probably was used earlier by tribes of Germans in the times of the Roman Empire. The name "Gau" had a revival in modern times under National Socialist rule. The NSDAP de facto dissolved the old German states and replaced them by Gaue (plural of Gau). They were primarily subdivisions of the party. Later on so-called Reichsgaue were added like Sudetenland. It seemed that the party, especially in former Prussia, tried to destroy the existing structures by arbitrary adding the boundaries of the new units.
     The use of this mock Gau Pommern (Gau Pommerania) banner and standard is simply part of the stage dressing used by the German Apple Front as part of their performances mimicking extremist activities and part of the FDÄ's attempt to keep those "German Apples" pure from any nasty foreign contamination.
     From top to bottom, the three characters below the black apple finial appear to be FDÄ (Front Deutscher Äpfel or "Front of German Apple") using a very hard-to-read decorative font, located where the usual NSDAP would be located on a party flag. The top inscription on the flag itself is Gau Pommern (Gau Pommerania). The bottom text is Apfel gedeihe! (Apple thrive!) apparently replacing the original NSDAP slogan of Deutschland erwache! (Germany Awake).
Pete Loeser, 23 February 2016

Perhaps another reason the name Gau Pommern was used was because much of the Province of Pomerania was seized by the Soviets, supposedly on behalf of Poland. It would be like Mexican protesters claiming to be from "the state of Tejas".
Will Linden, 24 February 2016

Pomerania is the Germanized form of Pomorje and is of Slavic origin: po morje (Situated on the ocean or sea). Yes Gau Pommern is a parody regarding apples.
Jens Pattke, 26 February 2016

The use of the pun from French pomme is certainly not true etymology, but does have a certain ring to it..
Željko Heimer, 26 February 2016

[FDA Gau Pommern Banner] Image by Tomislav Todorović, 28 February 2016

What appears to be a black or checkered border is actually a black (wooden? plastic? painted?) frame to which the flag is fastened by means of (white looking) rivets. See the bottom right-hand corner, where the frame is partly damaged and one or two rivets missing.
Actually, when zoomed in, it is not quite clear if the banner is made of textile of maybe paper or cardboard. Something in the wrinkles makes me think so. If I am right, this would be a crossbreed between a flag and a demonstration poster.
Tomislav Todorović, 28 February 2016

Yes, this is a theater decoration or a crossbreed between a textile flag and a demonstration paper poster.
Jens Pattke, 13 May 2016

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