German town Tricks neo-Nazis into Raising Thousands for Anti-Extremist Charity

Sometimes, even the most outlandish pranks can have a tremendously positive outcome. Neo-Nazis were pranked this week as they found themselves gathered in a small German town raising over 10,000 euro for an anti-extremist organization. For many decades, the far-right extremists have marched through the town of Wunsiedel in Bavaria. But the organizers Rechts gegen Rechts (Right against Right) took a different approach, for charity.

Local residents and businesses sponsored the 250 participants of the march on November 15th in what they dubbed Germany’s “most involuntary walkathon.” For each meter the participants walked, ten euro went to a program called EXIT Deutschland, which helps people escape these extremist groups.

A statement released from Exit Deutschland after the event explained:

Under the motto “Right-wing extremists against right-wing extremists,” the most unwillingly entered charity walk in Germany took place today. […] This year, Wunsiedel decided to take a different approach and turn the funeral march of the neo-Nazis into the most unwillingly entered charity walk in Germany.

Campaigners hung humorous posters to make the march look more like a sporting event with slogans such as “If only the Fuhrer knew!” and laid out bananas with a pun-tastic sign, “Mein Mampf” which translates to “My munch” for the participants like snacks that might be at a normal charity walk. At the end, there was even a sign thanking the marchers for their “donations.”

The reason the neo-Nazis come to this particular town is because Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess was once buried there. Although his remains were later exhumed in 2011 and his grave destroyed, the extremists still flock to this particular town. Residents of Wunsiedel have staged protests and filed numerous legal complaints in the past but to no avail.

“We want to show what else you can do, what other courses of action you have,” said Fabian Wichmann, a Rechts gegen Rechts organizer and education researcher for EXIT. “You can do more than just block the street or close the shutters.”