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Ulfhednar is a German-Polish reenactment group that appears in several documentaries . Some members of the group are also active in pagan metal bands like Menhir .

After 2000, the group made a significant contribution to shaping the image of early history in the German and international media and was also supported by important early history institutions and museums, according to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation .

In 2007, there was considerable criticism of the group's frequent involvement by archaeological museums and institutions, among other things because of exaggerated and ahistorical wolf fishing and swastika representations and a distorted image of history that was conveyed in this way. The scandal occurred in 2008 due to an incident at a major museum event in Paderborn, where a criminal Nazi tattoo of an actor was noticed. The incident sparked a large number of publications and a technical controversy.


The group consists of around 30 full members and can mobilize up to 50 people for individual productions. The members come from Germany, Poland and Great Britain. They specialize in depicting Celts and Teutons , but also depict Scythians and Slavs as well as Indians . All costumes are made in-house. According to their own statements, authentic sources are used and archaeological finds are reconstructed . The group appears for state museums and is considered a crowd puller.

In addition to working for museums, the group also appears on television. The first major project was the promotion for Bonifatius - Das Musical (2003/2004) and the documentation Artus - the Holy Grail (2000). This was followed by a video shoot for the pagan metal band Týr . After a few productions for regional programs, a documentary called The Magic Sword for Südwestfunk and Bonifatius - Death at Dawn for ZDF and Arte followed in 2003 . Also for the National Geographic , world of wonders and Terra X , the group occurred. One of the largest productions is the four-part series Die Germanen as they really were .

The Pagan Metal groups Menhir , Gernotshagen and Odroerir from Thuringia come from the group’s environment . A leading member of Ulfhednar also heads a regional support association of an open-air museum in East Germany and is committed to neopaganism .

Controversies about historical image and symbolism

In 2007 critical voices were raised against the extensive use of Ulfhednar and other groups in archaeological institutions. Wulff E. Brebeck , President of the ICOM Committee for Memorials (IC Memo), initiated a panel discussion on the group's view of history and criticized relationships with the band Graveland , among other things .

The Paderborn scandal

On April 28, 2008 Ulfhednar performed for the historical museum Paderborn on the occasion of the exhibition A World in Motion about the Merovingians . After the performance, one of the actors took off his shirt at lunchtime and exposed a tattoo with the forbidden SS slogan “ My honor means loyalty ”. He also had a Wehrmacht or SS- style identification tag around his neck. The group later justified themselves by saying that the man only stood in for one actor. Nonetheless, the incident sparked a debate in the course of which the numerous swastics on the group's shields and clothing were questioned.

Albrecht Jockenhövel , Professor of Prehistory and Protohistory at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster, called on his colleagues in a “Mannheim Declaration” to boycott the group. On June 29th, a panel discussion took place on the subject, during which Karl Banghard, director of the Oerlinghausen Open Air Museum , accused the group as a whole of conveying a distorted view of history. Other researchers also sharply criticized the group. Wilfried Menghin , former director of the Berlin Museum for Prehistory and Early History , who hired the group in 2004, defended its use.

The group presented itself as the victim of an anti- fascist smear campaign. In various statements, Lukas Berkel, editor of the ZDF culture magazine aspekte , Karl Banghard and the authors Christian Dornbusch , Ralf Hoppadietz, Jan Raabe and Andreas Speit were alleged to have links to the left-wing extremist camp . The manner in which swastikas are used is defended as historically correct. He distanced himself and the group from right-wing extremist ideology and threatened legal action against the television program.

Arian Ziliox, the group's founder and chairman, publicly distanced himself from the allegations:

I'm not a Nazi, not a right-wing man, not a racist. I did serious educational work, that was always recognized, that's why we were booked. And I don't want to be put in that corner. "

- Arian Ziliox : quoted from

After the incident, the group was also engaged at archaeological institutes in Mainz and Berlin.

Scientific consideration of the symbols used

The historical models used by Ulfhednar for her swastika representations are significantly smaller and differ in important details from the symbols implemented by the group. A sign from the chief of Ulfhednar Poland showed a large swastika. The symbol was now widespread among the Merovingians for smaller clothing accessories, which the group correctly points out. However, there is not a single surviving shield with the image.

In addition to the programmatic colors black, white and red, a swastika was also used for the standard of the group. The group itself points to swastikas that are documented, for example, on phalerae and belt distributors of a horse harness at an Alemannic grave in Niederstotzingen . The cross representations on these dishes date from the 8th century. There are only a few swastikas on the tableware itself, most of the motifs are based on the classic cross and are probably oriented towards Christianity. According to Banghard, the Ulfhendar standard contains elements from Gutenstein's sword scabbard , where the Christian cross is covered by a figurative representation. In contrast to the Niederstotzinger Tierwirbel, the feet of the swastika on the Ulfhednar standard were left out. Overall, it is criticized that the representations and symbolism of the group are closer to Nazi symbolism and interpretations than to archaeological findings and post-war interpretation.

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g Karl Banghard, Unter dem Häkelkreuz, Germanic Living History and Right Affects: A Historical Overview in Three Highlights. In Hans-Peter Killguss: The Invention of the Germans. Reception of the Varus Battle and the mystification of the Teutons. Publishing house NS Documentation Center, Cologne 2009, 56 pages; ISBN 978-3-938636-12-1 . With contributions from Professor Reinhard Wolters, Dr. Tilmann Bendikowski, Dirk Mellies, Michael Fehrenschild, Karl Banghard, Alexander Häusler, Jan Raabe, Dr. Michael cell.
  2. a b Andreas Speit, Beate Selders: The Nazi in chain mail. Right symbols for medieval groups. in the daily newspaper of July 16, 2007 (online)
  3. Doreen Mölders / Ralf Hoppadietz, "Odin instead of Jesus" European prehistory and early history as a treasure trove for religious myths of new Germanic paganism? Circular letter of the Working Group Theory in Archeology 6/1, 2007, 32-48. [1]
  4. a b Marcel Schwarzenberger: The Ulfhednar case and the consequences . in: Chronico - Magazine for History from July 1, 2008 (online edition)
  5. ^ Albrecht Jockenhövel: Mannheim Declaration of May 14, 2008
  6. Ulfhednar: Informants and politics of Mr. Banghard ( Memento of the original from April 25, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.ulfhednar.org
  7. a b Arian Zillox: Open Letter ( Memento of the original from February 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , addressed to the editorial staff of the ZDF culture magazine Aspects @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.ulfhednar.org
  8. Silke Meinhardt, Lukas Berkel: From runes and swastikas. Nazi symbols in the living history group "Ulfhednar" ( memento of the original from April 25, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . 3sat-Kulturzeit, January 21, 2008 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.3sat.de

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