GERMANY: Neo-Nazi demonstration in Dresden

Ross Rogers, Jr. forwards "Neo-Nazis upstage memorial to victims of Dresden bombing" (The Guardian <>  (2/14/05), here excerpted: Waving black flags and banners, thousands of neo-Nazis marched through the baroque heart of Dresden yesterday on the 60th anniversary of the city's destruction by British and American bombers.
In the largest neo-Nazi demonstration in Germany's post-war history, about 5,000 people took part in a "funeral march" to mourn civilians killed in the allied attack. The protest upstaged yesterday's official commemoration of the anniversary, during which Britain's ambassador to Germany laid a wreath at a cemetery where victims of the raid were buried. Meanwhile, thousands of local citizens gathered in the old square for a candlelight vigil. Large numbers of riot police were drafted into Dresden as several hundred anti-fascist protesters hurled abuse at the far-right marchers and shouted: "Nazis out!"

The neo-Nazis marched to the music of Wagner and Bach, blaring from loudspeakers. As they crossed the picturesque bridge over the Elbe towards the old city, they encountered several hundred anti-fascists, waiting on the riverside terrace. The organisers merely turned up the volume and played the Ride of the Valkyrie. Several anti-fascist demonstrators waved British, American and Israeli flags. Others chanted: "You lost the war" and "Stalingrad was wonderful". Confetti and pink paper aeroplanes with RAF markings were thrown. "This is a terrible day for Dresden - I'm furious," said Ursula Hamann, 77, who lives in the city and survived the 1945 attack. "It's sad to see something like this happening in Germany again." Another local, Edeltraud Krause, said: "Look at them. You just have to look at their stupid faces. They do not represent us." Yesterday's well-attended neo-Nazi rally is embarrassing for Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Germany's image abroad. The country's political establishment appears to have been taken completely unawares by the far-right's recent renaissance and the rise of the neo-Nazi National Party of Germany (NPD), which won 9.2% of the vote in last September's elections in Saxony. In a newspaper interview yesterday Mr Schröder hinted that he would attempt to ban the NPD, which, he said, portrayed Germany as a war victim by ignoring Nazi atrocities.

Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: February 27, 2005