My Life After Hate

 

Arno Michaelis has lived a double life, each vastly different from the other. As a former skinhead, neo-Nazi race warrior, and white power musician he was fueled by a cycle of pain and violence. Now he enlightens audiences of his transformation teaching love, acceptance, and inclusion.

Michaelis, a Milwaukee native, grew up in the toxic environment of an alcoholic household, and experienced emotional stress from a young age. He lived with a “me vs. the world,” mentality and his inner power struggle provoked him to lash out, bully, and fight. “The common thread there is suffering,” Arno states. As a teen, he found punk music as an outlet for his aggression but this outlet continued to fuel the violence.

Michaelis, former skinhead speaks out:

arno-michaelis-former-skinhead-wolfman-productions“There are certainly people who find healthy outlets through the punk scene, through the punk way of life,” Arno exclaimed. “But for me, punk was about smashing things and pissing people off. The punk rocker I was, was about getting as messed up as I possibly could on alcohol and drugs then going out, causing problems, repulsing people, and getting in fights.”

Sporting a Mohawk hairstyle and searching to find himself, Arno experienced joy from others’ disgust and thrived on it. The punk scene was just the beginning and led him down the path to white power skinhead music. “From going to punk to the white supremacist ideology was just an escalation of the idea of repulsing people,” Arno stated. “Seeing a Mohawk repulse people, try a swastika.”

Arno went on to front the race metal band, Centurion, where he would get on stage and scream hate into the microphone. Violence was the norm — encouraged, and accepted at these shows – and some would even leave in an ambulance. “We wanted to inspire a berserk rage among our own people. We wanted our guys to get so immersed in violence it was second nature to them. We were dangerous even to ourselves.”

Once at the forefront of the movement, he led, recruited, and organized people around these ideologies. “It was very much like a wolf pack situation. There was myself and some other alphas and we established ourselves through violence to be the leaders of the organization.” They would hold booze fueled meetings at an old, dilapidated house, in a rough neighborhood and developed a plan to save the white race. “In addition to getting drunk and beating people up, we later became part of a group called, ‘Church of the Creators.’ They put out a monthly newspaper called Racial Loyalty and our ongoing activism was to put them in mailboxes and leave them on porches in neighborhoods we considered white.”

Though their organization had a plan, there was a relentless struggle for power between younger and older members which lead to a constant mutiny from within. “Our organizational culture was violence, so it was no surprise that our organization was inherently dysfunctional.” Over time, the constant stress and exhaustion from the movement caught up to Arno. The life he was leading no longer made sense to him.arno-michaelis-former-skinhead-speaker-wolfman-productions

“The organization itself self-destructed. It got to seem as stupid as it was and one by one we all started growing out of it and went our separate ways.” Arno credits receiving kindness from the ones he claimed to hate and the undying support of his family as crucial factors leading to his salvation. “No matter how bad I got and no matter what horrible things I did, they didn’t give up on me. If that would have been missing, it’s entirely possible I wouldn’t have made it out.”

Arno’s second life began in 2010, when he made it his personal mission to “make the point that we’re all human beings and have far more in common than otherwise. We really need to celebrate that and to create a foundation to address all these issues.” Over the past seven years, he has spoken to over 30,000 people, and via social and mainstream media his message has reached millions. His goal is to have his positive impact not only counter the negativity he spread but to greatly surpass it. “I never want to lose sight of the harm that I’ve done. I never want to let the sting, the shame, the humiliation, of that completely fade away because it does provide an urgency for me to keep escalating the positive impact I’m making now.”

 

For more information on booking Arno Michaelis, contact Scott Wolfman