"We wanted to create an alternative to counter-demonstrations,"
Every year, the small town of Wunsiedel in Bavaria is visited by large groups of Neo-Nazis, who march through the streets in remembrance of Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess, who was once burred there. Most of the people in the town disapprove of the yearly visit, but the Nazis are able to assemble on public property just as any other group can, and should be able to do.
In 2011, the dead Nazi official was exhumed from his grave site and his body was destroyed, but the Nazis continued to return to the town each year.
This year though, residents of Wunsiedel figured out a creative way to fight against the unwelcome Nazi parade, without violating anyone’s rights in the process.
Knowing that the Nazis typically walked through the streets, residents approached local business owners asking them to “sponsor” the Nazis who walked through the town, and all the money collected from the sponsorships would be donated to charities that help victims of hate groups. This works much in the same way that businesses and donors support racers in marathons.
The march was ironically called “Germany’s most involuntary walkathon” by the town, because although the Nazis were voluntarily marching, they had no clue that local businesses were pledging to donate money against their cause for every step that they took.
At the end of the day, the local activists raised at least €10,000 through their efforts, and all of the money was donated to charity.
“We wanted to create an alternative to counter-demonstrations,” activist Fabian Wichmann told The Local.
A spokesperson for the mayor, Inge Schuster, told reporters that the Nazis will probably continue to come back, but at least the people in the town have been able to turn the situation into something positive.
“It was an absolute success. It created something positive, including the €10,000 donation for EXIT-Deutschland. They probably won’t go away. The history of the town is too important to them, but at least we’ve created something good out of it,” Schuster said.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.