A genuine Neonazi demonstration marched past our window today. The first we knew of it was a flyer on our door, of unclear origin, advising us of the approach, and suggesting a few ways to protest. Hang a flag, write our local councilperson, turn up music loud out our windows as they marched past.
We didn’t know what to expect. This apparently happens sometimes, though rarely in such an organized fashion. It’s apparently the anniversary of the death of Rudolph Hess, Hitler’s deputy. The group was denied a full commemoration, but a march was approved. I’m not sure what the difference is. Given that Hess deserted Hitler, and flew to Britain to try to negotiate his own crazy-person armistace (shockingly, unsuccessful), I’m not sure why they pick him to memorialize.
We walked up to SchÃ¶nhauser Allee to watch them approach. Scores, perhaps more than a hundred police officers were there, in riot gear, with barricades holding back counter-protesters. When the marchers got close, preceded by dozens of police vehicles and a throng of hundreds of lefties shouting and waving signs for the Green Party, “Berlin gegen Nazis,” or just a big middle finger, a line of cops pushed us back. We retreated to our apartment.
I put my speakers out the window, to help protest. I picked Darth Vader’s theme first, but realized that gave them too much credit. Instead I put on the Chipmunks. A few minutes the group reached our block, for reasons we don’t understand the endpoint of the march. There were no more than a few dozen Neonazis, mostly twenty-something young men, some from out of town with banners advertising a group in Dortmund. I was suprised to see that their banners actually call themselves National Socialists.
It’s shocking, a bit. But that’s probably the point. These aren’t people who can get attention other ways. This brings out thousands of protestors, TV cameras, and an army of police. Not a bad day’s work for a mouth-breather craving validation of his existance. But then, that was what people thought the first time around, dismissing them as violent punks without a future. It makes me happy that the counterprotesters outnumbered them ten to one.
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