And yet, just as the hall in Munich in the 20s of the previous century was too small to contain the ambitions of a former corporal, the venue in the worker's quarter of Berlin is seen as just a starting point for the former paratrooper and current chairman of the neo-Nazi party.
"One day we will control this country, and not from some remote town, but from Berlin," declared National Democratic Party (NPD) Chairman Udo Voigt at the convention. The declaration received roaring applause from those in attendance.
Some 250 representatives from German, especially the eastern provinces, the right-wing neo-Nazi strongholds, and another 250 guests, among them delegations from Italy, Romania, and Portugal, attended the neo-Nazi convention in Berlin.
The convention was authorized by the Supreme Court at the last minute, overturning the decision of the lower courts to ban the convention. So, for the first time since the founding of the party in 1964, the party leadership gathered in Berlin, or, as they call it, "the capital of the German Reich."
'We won't be subdued'Chairman Voigt read to the enthusiastic audience a list of all those who wanted to stop them from meeting. When he reached the name of Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, a homosexual, the audience booed.
"The Jewish community also didn't want us," continued Voigt, evoking laughter from the crowd. This automatic response instilled in me, the only Jew at the convention, deep aversion and fear.
"Throughout the country, our strength is growing, and we won't surrender to attempts to subdue us," promised Voigt.
"The big losers are standing outside protesting," said another speaker, and the audience went wild.
The speakers from Germany lamented the leftists and "Free Masons" – a code word for Jews – in the country. "Germany has become poor, sick, old, and full of foreigners, and plundered because of this policy," said one of the neo-Nazi leaders from Berlin. "The tens of thousands of votes we received in the elections will turn into millions and will bring about real change."
"In another 50 years, there will be more Gypsies in Romania than local residents," predicted the head of the Romania delegation. "Our enemies are operating within global frameworks. Only modern European, Christian nationalism will be a fitting response to the imperialism of the 21st century."
The neo-Nazis have adopted the slogan "The New Center" for themselves. This is the same slogan Tony Blair used to capture Britain. Based on their exterior, the neo-Nazis already seem part of the center.
Skin heads and uniform-wearers are already a minority. The convention participants were well-kept, well-dressed people from all levels of German society.
Outside the function hall, only a few hundred Germans protested. Every time representatives arrived at the hall, they had to withstand derisive comments and calls of "Nazis, go home." However, they were also entitled to police protection from any physical harm as they entered the convention.