Germany: Neo-Nazis inadvertently fund those opposed to them
The Washington Post reports that the town of Wunsiedel in southeastern Germany has become a sort of traditional pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis. Until the year 2011, it was the burial place of Rudolf Hess, Hitler's second deputy after Göring.
Right-wing extremists annually hold a march through the town in mid-November to honory the memory of Hess and commemorate what most people consider to be the horrors of the Third Reich. This year's march, however, was paradoxically welcomed with enthusiasm by local residents and nonprofits fighting neo-Nazism.
Bystanders went so far as to "effusively" cheer the marchers and shower them with rainbow confetti. The reason was not a sudden conversion of locals to neo-Nazism, but the unusual idea of a group called Rechts gegen Rechts (Rights against Rights) for how to stand up to the neo-Nazi march.
Local entrepreneurs and residents pledged to contribute EUR 10 for every meter marched by the supporters of Nazi ideology to the EXIT-Germany nonprofit organization, which helps former neo-Nazis extricate themselves from involvement with the neo-Nazi cell environment. As many as 200 right-wing extremists ultimately participated in the "Hess march", and their presence basically supported the activities of an organization fighting against neo-Nazism.
According to a press release, the organizers of the fundraising decorated the street with ironic signs calling on those participating in the march to keep going. The neo-Nazis could also read messages written on the sidewalk under their heavy boots reading "A final sprint instead of victory", etc.
Given the often violent nature of neo-Nazi marches, as well as that of counter-demonstrations convened against them by left-wing radicals, the fundraising idea is now perceived by the German public as a breath of fresh air, based on humor and tolerance. "We wanted to create an alternative to counter-demonstrations," Fabian Wichmann, an education researcher with the organization EXIT-Germany, told the German news server Local.
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