Gerhard Lauck was Germany’s biggest supplier of neo-Nazi materials. His trajectory is a valuable case study in recognizing the signs of a budding hatemonger

They’re easy to spot, the neo-Nazi and his driver, strolling side by side up Main Street beneath a noonday sun, flanked by the two-story brick and limestone buildings of Beatrice, Nebraska. But it’s not the way they’re dressed.

Gerhard Lauck, the man they call the “Farm Belt führer” doesn’t draw attention to himself heedlessly, doesn’t swaddle himself in swastikas – not any more, anyway, and not out here in south-east Nebraska, where he finally retreated after serving a four-year stint in a German prison for distributing neo-Nazi propaganda. He doesn’t bark “Heil Hitler!” He doesn’t shoot his right arm into the air.

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