This piece is about the rise and fall of Golden Dawn, a violent neo-Nazi street movement that became Greece’s third-largest party before it was brought down by a vast criminal trial, dubbed “the largest trial of Nazis since Nuremberg”. I spent seven years following the story, from Golden Dawn’s shocking surge in popularity amid the Greek economic crisis, to the arrest and trial of its leadership on organised crime charges. Over the years I met and interviewed Greek voters, politicians, anti-racist activists, victims of assault, lawyers, former Golden Dawn members and others. I also attended several court sessions – part of numerous reporting trips to Greece between 2012 and 2019 – and sifted through hundreds of pages of trial documents and summaries of court proceedings, as well as video and photographic evidence assembled by the prosecution. I supplemented my reporting with research on Greek and European history, to provide appropriate context.
This piece brought the story of one of the most disturbing threats to human rights in Europe’s recent history to a wide, non-specialist readership via the Guardian’s Long Read section in print and online. The written piece, which was published in advance of the trial verdict to draw attention to the case, was turned into a podcast. I followed the story up by covering the trial verdict in October 2020 with a subsequent piece for the Guardian’s opinion section.