Flemish nazi checks in to Valhalla

From correspondents in The Netherlands and Belgium

Searchlight, November 2005

Nazi veteran and former leader of the Flemish paramilitary Vlaamse Militanten Orde (VMO) Bert Eriksson died, aged 73, of a lung disease, at the beginning of October in the Dutch village of Westdorpe, near the Belgian border.

Eriksson was active in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The VMO was banned in 1984 under laws banning private militias and Eriksson was jailed for a year. After being outlawed, many VMO members flocked into the "respectable" Vlaams Blok (VB, some of them even making a career as federal or Flemish MPs. Eriksson's Antwerp cafe, 'Den Odal', also the name of his new group, remained a magnet for nazis from across the whole of Europe. The VMO, created in the 1950s by the remains of the Flemish nationalist movement, was taken over by Eriksson in the early 1970s. This criminal gang served as the (unofficial) "security service" of the VB during its early years. The VMO's support played a key role in the survival of the then marginal VB during its early years. Eriksson was a personal friend of most of the VB's "celebrities" and was honoured more than once in the VB media as a Flemish "hero and idealist".

The former VMO boss, son of a Finnish father and a Flemish mother, was a nazi to the marrow. Living in Antwerp, he joined the Hitler Youth at the age of thirteen and never hid his adoration for Hitler. "The only thing Hitler did wrong was losing the war" and "Yes, I'm a nazi, anything wrong with that?" were his favourite statements.

While Eriksson was getting ready to go to Valhalla, a court in Hagen, Germany, ruled that another nazi monster, the Dutch war criminal, Herbertus Bikker will not have to serve out a life sentence handed to him in 1949 for the murder of Jan Houtman, a resistance fighter during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

In 1952, Bikker escaped from prison in Breda and fled to Germany where he remained a free man, with German identity as a result of his membership of Hitler's murderous SS. In 1993, a Dutch reporter tracked him down and, later, Dutch and German anti-fascists demonstrated outside his house.

According reports presented to the Hagen court, Bikker, 89, was unable to understand why he has to spend the rest of his life in jail. In 2003, Dutch justice minister, Piet Hein Donner, asked for his extradition. During the latest hearings, however, Bikker made a fit and aggressive impression, apparently understanding perfectly what was going on and this may prompt an appeal from the Dutch authorities.

By Jeroen Bosch of Alert! and Antifa-Net in Utrecht