The fossilised world of Germany's student-duelling clubs was in turmoil yesterday after the national umbrella organisation was shown to have adopted a Nazi-style race code demanding the banning of members with foreign parents on the grounds that they were insufficiently "Aryan".

Germany has more than 100, mostly right-wing, student duelling clubs or Burschenschaften, which claim an almost exclusively male membership of around 10,000.

Members wear 19th-century uniforms and take part in ritualised fencing and beer-drinking competitions.

But the normally secretive workings of the Burschenschaften received publicity yesterday after disclosures that the umbrella organisation was threatening to expel one club for admitting a German citizen with Chinese parents.

Burschenschaft documents leaked to Der Spiegel magazine revealed the citizen was a member of the Hansea duelling club in the western city of Mannheim.

They said he held German citizenship and had also served in the German Army.

"He wears duelling-club colours with pride and believes in the German Fatherland" is how the documents described him.

Burschenschaft members attending their national annual general meeting were yesterday asked to vote on a motion to expel the Hansea club for admitting the member with Chinese parents.

According to the umbrella organisation's race code, he did not qualify as a member of the "German people".

Der Spiegel said the motion was accompanied by legal documents and apparently approved by a majority of the country's Burschenschaften.

The documents stipulated that prospective members with "non-European facial and bodily characteristics" did not qualify as Germans.

- INDEPENDENT