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3 members of German neo-Nazi group convicted of indoctrinating children on camping trips

BERLIN (AP) — Three members of a far-right group were convicted Tuesday of organizing events to indoctrinate youth with neo-Nazi ideals, including a camping trip that had children painting masks with swastikas.

All three were members of the Homeland-Faithful German Youth, or HDJ, which was banned by Germany's Interior Ministry last year for promoting racist and Nazi ideology among children and youth.

The Berlin state court convicted Ragnar R. for his role in organizing a 2006 trip during which children decorated masks with swastikas and all participants wore black uniforms, court spokesman Robert Baeuml said in a statement.

He was also convicted of involvement in a 2007 event where youngsters were taught far-right racial theories and shown the Nazi propaganda film "The Eternal Jew," Baeuml said.

Co-defendants Christian F. and Daniela K. were also convicted of participating in the second event.

The court did not release the last names of the defendants in accordance with German privacy laws. It also did not give their ages and Baeuml could not be reached by telephone, but Germany's NDR news reported that Ragnar R. was 26, Christian F. 27, and Daniela K. 24.

Ragnar R. was given a 17-month suspended sentence, Christian F. a 12-month suspended sentence, while Daniela K. was fined euro1,800 ($2,285).

The HDJ — whose initials evoke the German abbreviation for the Hitler Youth, the HJ — was founded in 1990 in Ploen, near Kiel, but is now based in Berlin and had several hundred members around the time it was banned, the Interior Ministry has said.