An Arizonan who says he was in the Hitler Youth has become one of the largest dealers of racist memorabilia in the West
German native Dieter Bueschgen's wares include such Nazi memorabilia as a reproduction SS infantry officer's "crusher" cap.
GLENDALE, Ariz.— Dieter Bueschgen introduces his wife as Barbie. "Like Klaus Barbie [the Nazi war criminal], not Barbie the Jew-made doll," says Bueschgen. Barbie is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, her husband explains in a whisper, as Barbie totters aimlessly around their cluttered home wearing a flower-print housecoat and matching slippers.
"Hi there, Barbie, show us how high is the snow in the Alps," Bueschgen suddenly calls out in a thick German accent. Barbie stops on a dime, spins toward her husband, and thrusts up her right arm in a sieg-heil salute.
"That's my girl," Bueschgen says, chuckling.
Bueschgen, 69, is seated in a well-worn easy chair with a loaded Luger semi-automatic pistol on the end table, close at hand. A Mauser bolt-action rifle is leaned against a nearby glass display case containing his collection of Japanese geisha dolls, Viking ship models and German beer steins. He's sporting a sweat suit and a lot of jewelry, including a gold Odin's hammer pendant and silver ring fashioned into an SS Totenkopf death's head.
Since at least the mid-1990s, Bueschgen has been a grandfather figure to neo-Nazi skinheads as well as one of the largest dealers of white supremacist paraphernalia and World War II-era Nazi memorabilia in the western United States. Skinheads from as far away as Pennsylvania have taken road trips to patronize Bueschgen's Arizona home-based business, Desert Fox International, and to listen to Bueschgen regale them with stories of growing up in Hitler's Germany. The front and sides of the refrigerator in his kitchen are decorated with photographs of young skinheads in bomber jackets and combat boots.
Bueschgen says he was born in a small town in Germany that he refuses to name. He claims he joined the Hitler-Jugend, or Hitler Youth, when he was 10. This is almost certainly false. Public records show that Bueschgen was born in December 1938. While the compulsory membership age of the Hitler Youth was lowered to 10 near the end of the war, the Hitler Youth was disbanded in 1945, when Bueschgen was only 7 years old.
But there's no doubt Bueschgen is a bona fide purveyor of Hitler Youth keepsakes. One entire wall of one of his two showrooms is stocked with Hitler-Jugend odds and ends, including belt buckles, armbands, kerchiefs and merit badges, all of them apparently authentic. Bueschgen's inventory also includes hundreds of Waffen-SS caps, ties, patches, overcoats and medals, as well as seemingly genuine swastika flags and banners.
"All of these items are banned in Germany," he says. "If you could smuggle this stuff into Germany you could make a lot of money, at least four times what I charge. You'd need the right connections to get it out of your hands once you were there. But, of course, I can provide those connections to anyone who's interested."
Bueschgen also carries VCR and DVD copies of Hitlerjunge Quex, a 1933 Nazi propaganda film about a Hitler Youth member named Quex, or "quicksilver." The film is based on the life of Herbert Norkus, a Hitler Youth member who was killed in a 1932 street battle with German communists in Berlin and became a model and martyr for the Hitler-Jugend. For any purchase over $300, Bueschgen throws in a free copy of either Hitlerjunge Quex or Jud Seuss, a 1940 film produced by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels that tells the story of an inhumanly caricatured Jew named Seuss who victimizes innocent Aryans.
Also in Bueschgen's showrooms are boxes upon boxes containing hate rock CDs along with T-shirts, pins and jewelry decorated with various neo-Nazi and racist pagan symbols. He meets with customers by appointment only at his modest home in a white neighborhood adjacent to a gang-ridden Hispanic barrio in this Phoenix suburb. Bueschgen lives in a part of Glendale that's about five miles and a world apart from the glitzy redeveloped Maricopa County Stadium District section of Glendale where the Superbowl was held in January.
"No, I don't watch these games," Bueschgen says. "I don't even know the names of the teams. It's just the n------ against the black boys to me."
The owner and proprietor of Desert Fox International travels to skinhead festivals and other white nationalist gatherings in Arizona, California and Nevada, rolling up in a battered RV loaded with glass display cases. He's also a fixture at major gun shows in the Phoenix area. "I have to tone it down for the gun shows, just a few medals with the symbol [swastika] here and there with more Russian military artifacts than anything else. But still, the Jews, they always give me trouble about the swastikas. Always, always, it is trouble with these goddamned Jews."
Copies of The Barnes Review, a "revisionist" journal founded by Holocaust denier Willis Carto, are stacked on the end table next to the Luger. Bueschgen says he used to subscribe also to American Renaissance, a racist journal, but he stopped because "they got too weak on the Jews for my taste. [Editor] Jared Taylor has gone soft on Jews, so I say to hell with him."
Bueschgen says he used to teach German at the University of California, Santa Barbara but he quit because "the whole faculty was filled with Jews and commies, even the German department." After that he moved to Phoenix and taught high school for a while, he says, but quit in the late 1980s because "I was discouraged by the genetic quality of the students."
Since then, he says, he's scraped out another kind of living.
"The skinheads, they love my goodies," Bueschgen says. "And I love the skinheads. They are a little too disorganized, and they party too much, but they are politically motivated. They're good boys. They remind me of the good old days."