Golden Dawn handed over free food and supplies to Greek citizens in need in Syntagma Square, Athens. 01 August 2012 Photo: Panayiotis Tzamaros / FOS PHOTOS

Four Years On: What Greece Can Learn from Golden Dawn Trial

The investigation into the neo-Nazi party reveals it for what it truly is — a criminal organization.

Tassos Morfis
Published in
9 min readApr 20, 2019


April 20 marks the four-year anniversary since the start of the Golden Dawn trial. Four years of testimonies, audio-visual records, thousands of pages of transcripts, and a continuous stream of doubts and political antics.

Greece’s neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn is accused of multiple murders, with a log of some 350 witnesses, more than 100 lawyers on both sides and a case file 1.5 terabytes in size. The trial is billed as one of the most important trials in modern Greek history, could be nearing its conclusion.

None who was aware of Golden Dawn and their activities expected things would arrive at this boiling point. No-one would have had imagined that a para-military group would have gathered together almost half a million voters in a crisis-ridden country. And this is because of the interconnection of the far-right and Nazi structures with the so-called “deep state”.

But after four years nothing is over. Instead, starting with the Golden Dawn trial itself, now we can see a starting point by understanding and proving in court that Golden Dawn isn’t a political organization but a criminal one.

A “deep state” that has tormented our poor country a lot. A “deep state” that was co-operating with Golden Dawn in parliament, encouraging them to “cleanse” urban areas in Athens from the different, the “non-Greek”, the “non-patriotic” and ultimately the “unlawful”. Over the years Golden Dawn has launched several pogroms targeting migrants.

And of course, not in the sense of the existing law legislation, but in a distorted and vague sense of an “ethnic” and “national” law, based on the supposed “Greek DNA” and the “one and only blood”, Greek blood. In the course of the trial, we discovered that Golden Dawn was following their very own code of honor that according to the above constitute and shape a clear national-socialist narrative. And the neo-nazi organization still acts by this code of ethics and ideology but in a different way.

A Golden Dawn Rally in 2016. Photo: Panayiotis Tzamaros / FOS PHOTOS

From the latest data that the team behind the independent digital platform OmniaTV has analyzed during the long-term coverage and analysis of the Golden Dawn trial, it appears that this narrative is divided into three directions: migration; the Macedonian issue; and the memorandum/anti-memorandum debate which can be translated into the austerity/anti-austerity question. The data the press have mostly come from what is included as evidence in the case files against the accused members and executives of Golden Dawn.

How fear and threats were cultivated

In psychology, the reaction of a person to the threat is described by the term “fight or flight”. They will either stand and fight to save themselves or escape. This very reaction was used by the Golden Dawn to build itself over the years, to build its criminal mechanism and then dress it with a parliamentary mantle.

In their local organizations around Greece, fear and threat were cultivated and built day by day, week by week, month by month, systematically.

As testimony from the trial showed Golden Dawn created an atmosphere of terror within its lines. Using fake news, rumors and conspiracy theories, Golden Dawn created the conditions that led all those who were regular members to believe that they needed to be determined to “fight the threat” anytime they were called in/upon. The soldiers were ready.

As for those who wouldn’t fight but fly in case of an “invasion by immigrants, Skopjans or Jews”, a different kind of approach was organized by the organization. Kitchen soups or plastic bags with groceries were obtaining their silent consensus while covering the criminal actions under a curtain of “Charity for Greeks only”.

With this strategy, life-long head of Golden Dawn, Nikos Michaloliakos, set up and ran the criminal orchestra that would allow him to take the streets and the parliament. Moreover, as Ilias Kasidiaris — Golden Dawn’s deputy- had said, the entry of Golden Dawn into parliament was nothing but an advantage allowing them to do “good work during the nighttime”.

The pinnacle of this criminal orchestra, as described in the indictment, is the so-called “Storm-battalions” of the organization.

Fans and voters of Golden Dawn during an event at the party’s offices in Aspropyrgos a small town west of Athens. On Tuesday, December 4 an explosive device detonated at their offices causing damage but no casualties. On December 5, 2012Photo: Panayiotis Tzamaros / FOS PHOTOS

The battalions are manned by those who will “sharpen the bayonets on the sidewalk” or “the young men with the black t-shirts” in Michaloliakos’s words.

They are those who in case of the threat of “anti-Hellenism” -like an invasion from the North or Turkey- will decide to “fight” by subordinating their will to the structure and organization designed and imposed by the one and only life-long Leader. At night.

Because during day-time they will be those who parade in the streets of Nikaia, and Keratsini, south-east suburbs of Athens close to the coast and Piraeus or Agios Panteleimonas a multi-ethnic neighborhood in Athens.

They will be walking in line with flags and dressed in camouflage. Many ex-members have testified that at night they become “hunters of migrants and foreigners”.

This is what’s included in the trial’s case file, and as we have seen during the last year of the trial, all testimonies are also confirmed by a considerable number of evidence that has now been made available to the court. At this point, it is especially important to stay on some of them by watching the videos below. They are a small part of the evidence against the organization.

Parts of videos found in hard disks and digital mediums of Golden Dawn MP’s and executives of the party, following the prosecution of the organization after the murder of antifascist artist Pavlos Fyssas. Pieces of training, marches, organizational meetings etc are being depicted in the material that is included in the case file of the trial the organization is under for the past four years. Video produced by Omnia TV.

These “battalions” have been growing in numbers and power under the orders of Nikos Michaloliakos who is commonly referred as “the Leader” who is commonly referred to as “the Leader”, and their victims just happened to be in their way.

Pavlos Fyssas a working-class rapper, Shahzat Lukman a Pakistani migrant who was stabbed while biking to work, Abuszid Embarak an Egyptian fisherman who was brutally attacked and finally saved by the doctors, and the dozens of victims of the “national-patriotic action” of the Golden Dawn. Golden Dawn’s promise is war with fear and threat being deeply embedded with their mindsets without leaving any space for further thought or disobey to the Leader.

Golden Dawn members during a blood donation for Greeks in need, as long as the donor was a Greek national. 12 September 2012 Photo: Panayiotis Tzamaros/ FOS PHOTOS

And the Leader has taken care of that. But, as history has taught us, sometimes things get out of control. And things got out of control in the dawn of Sept. 18, 2013. Pavlos Fyssas was murdered in cold blood with two stabbings in the heart after mobilization of the “Nikea” battalion. A battalion that was active at the premises of Nikea mostly manned by locals.

Right after the murder, Golden Dawn’s notorious dogma “fight or flight” becomes flight as every single member tries to flee the scene and not be associated with the incident. The leader’s structure is shaking and a cover-up operation by Golden Dawn begins a few hours later.

It is incredible and characteristic of the interconnection between “deep-state” and Golden Dawn that Golden Dawners have the original filings of the case in their hands first. The following video with the related conversations of deputies and their top group of leaders is revealing.

Part of the phone calls MP’s and executives of Golden Dawn made, following the murder of Pavlos Fyssas on September 18, 2013. The recordings are part of the case file of the trial the organization is under for the past four years. Video produced by Omnia TV

The cover-up

Mr. Kampagiannis, a lawyer for the civil prosecution against Golden Dawn, described in detail Golden Dawn’s actions. He underlines that they follow these tactics and repeat the same arguments over and over again without missing an opportunity to apply them in their public appearances and incorporate them in the defense process as well. Here are the three basic arguments:

Complete denial: “We don’t do such things. We are boy-scouts.”

Implicate others: “This is what other people do to us” or “Other groups do such things as well”

Feign ignorance: “In any case and if a fatal stabbing occurred, the Leader wasn’t aware.”

But there’s an important gap between these defensive narratives.

Nikos Michalaliados himself in what he has said to local organizations and election events in time, admits that “if it’s needed we will have to make our hands dirty”, or “I am an extreme, a radical, and I do not hide it”, and “We will enter the Parliament with or without elections” or “You are the storm-battalions,” leaving no room for doubt about the attacks, lethal or not, and of course whether he knows about all this.

It’s important to remember you that the aforementioned phrases are officially documented and part of the evidence included in the trial’s case. They have also been shown in the courtroom.

Parts of videos found in hard disks and digital mediums of Golden Dawn MP’s and executives of the party, following the prosecution of the organization after the murder of antifascist artist Pavlos Fyssas. Local chapter meetings, oath swearing with ticky torches, national socialistic speeches by the organization’s leader N. Michaloliakos are among the material that is included in the case file of the trial the organization is under for the past four years. Video produced by Omnia TV.

The Leader

Unfortunately, even today some people choose to close their ears and eyes as they did before the prosecution of the Golden Dawn, before the assassination of Fyssas or Lukman, a time when the bustling economic-political complex in Greece, from politicians to media, was supporting the rise and penetration of Golden Dawn into society using a variety of positive narratives for the organization.

But while Golden Dawn has been gaining attention, anti-fascist initiatives grew stronger. The PR stunts of Golden Dawn like attacking migrants who sell their merchandise on the street or kitchen soups “For Greeks-only” were strongly supported by the majority of the Greek media. And this support by the media has managed to shift the attention of one of the most active political and social factions of the population to tackling the fascist threat even when the momentum created by the major mobilizations of 2011 was kind of lost.

Nikos Michaloliakos, the leader of the organization. Photo: Panayiotis Tzamaros / FOSPHOTOS

Because of the refugee-crisis, the national patriotic crowns and xenophobic arguments were reinforced gradually. What led to the spread of those rhetorics are the doldrums of the political system, the unorganized civil society as well as some unfortunate handling of key issues regarding the spread of racism and fascism, with migration being the most important example.

But after four years nothing is over. Instead, starting with the Golden Dawn trial itself, now we can see a starting point by understanding and proving in court that Golden Dawn isn’t a political organization but a criminal one.

And this has already been revealed while we are moving towards the completion of a process that has helped surface a large number of facts and evidence about Golden Dawn.

Evidence and facts that society, academics, social movements, and political groups can use to shield our society against all sorts of totalitarianism and educate our reflexes to understand and effectively deal with the reasons for the rise of such abnormalities such as Golden Dawn.

Special thanks for their support to Ypopto Mousi for his detailed work, Omnia TV for producing the videos and Friday evening shows, Antithesis Zurich for subtitling and everyone who has been involved in covering the trial extensively so we are able to know what’s going on in the courtroom.

Read more from our Golden Dawn coverage:

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Tassos Morfis

Entrepreneurial journalist helping newsrooms stay relevant to the communities they serve with SaaS-> / board @AthensLiveGr