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The Hammerskins (also known as Hammerskin Nation) are a white supremacist group formed in 1988 in Dallas, Texas. Their primary focus is the production and promotion of white power rock music, and many white power bands have been affiliated with the group. The Hammerskins were affiliated with the record label 9% Productions. The Hammerskins host several annual concerts, including Hammerfest, an annual event in both the United States and Europe in honor of deceased Hammerskin Joe Rowan, the lead singer of the band Nordic Thunder.
The Anti-Defamation League describes them as the United States' best-organized neo-Nazi skinhead group, with the Hammerskin Nation website boasting six chapters in the United States and chapters existing in Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia. The Hammerskins also have supporter chapters, known as Crew 38, in most of these countries, for those who do not seek membership but wish to show their appreciation.
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Power struggles have split the group into several factions. Many Outlaw Hammerskins members attended the 2002 NordicFest, and the group was to provide security for a white pride festival hosted by the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The Outlaw Hammerskins are now defunct.
Many of its members have been convicted of harassment, assault and even murder. On August 5, 2012, Wade Michael Page, a former member of the Hammerskins, was shot by police and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after he killed six people in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Page became a "fully patched" member of the Hammerskins in autumn 2011, according to the Anti-Defamation League. He played in at least three Hammerskin-affiliated bands; End Apathy, Definite Hate and 13 Knots. According to media sources and civil rights organizations, End Apathy, Wade's main band, had played several recent Hammerskin events in the United States prior to the shooting-spree.
The Hammerskins logo, depicting two claw hammers crossed to resemble goose-stepping legs, is based on a fictitious neo-nazi organization depicted in the 1982 film Pink Floyd – The Wall. The portrayal of the fictional group in the film was intended to show Nazism negatively. Their logo and motto Hammerskins Forever, Forever Hammerskins (HFFH) often appear in their paraphernalia and tattoos. Crew 38 and Hammerskins members also frequently identify themselves with the slogan "838", meaning "hail the crossed hammers" (the acronym HCH translates into the eighth, third and eighth letters of the alphabet).