Pieter Wisse: I believe in 88

The book makes an impact like a punch in the gut.

Not because it shows neo-Nazis but because of it's unbelievable, creepy neutrality. HOW it shows them. It is a glance behind the curtain that disturbs us as we are expecting monsters. Not because you could see something special – but exactly this is what is disturbing, the normality. Neo-Nazis while eating spaghetti. Ne-Nazis washing clothes, doing groceries, watching TV, posing for cuddly family-pics, being close with their partner, playing soccer with their kids. Sure, there are the flags and picture on the wall, they cannot be overseen, omnipresent, and there are the tattoos reminding you with whom you are dealing with right now, and the t-shirts and coats with slogans fractured type. Still they have the same fitted kitchens, the same creepy furniture in the living-room, and live in the same row houses like hundreds and thousands of other families.

Pieter Wisse is a Dutch photographer, stabbed by a neo-Nazi in his youth as a left-sided demonstrator. Later he gained the confidence of a group of neo-Nazis in eastern Germany, who granted him a look behind the scenes. Out of this resulted pictures completely without comment (which is positive in this case), satisfying no expectations, and far away from any pessimism.

The book unmasks not only it's protagonists – anyone can form his own opinion openly to what extend – but also us as “audience”. If you are really open-minded (and not only reckon yourself to be), shows how you cope with “I believe in 88”.

It is a heavy but necessary book.


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