Update+++Saturday, 18 August, 2018, 10:30, Rathaus Spandau: protests against right-wing extremist “Heßmarsch” in Spandau – 2nd call for protest online+++1st assessment by MBR+++resolution of Spandau council assembly

For August 18, yet again, a right-wing extremist demonstration has been registered to take place in the western part of Berlin, from 12:00 to 20:00. The demonstration’s topic is the 31. anniversary of the death of the convicted NS war criminal Rudolf Heß, who had committed suicide while imprisoned in Spandau-Wilhelmstadt on August 17, 1987. Civic counter protests in Spandau are in preparation, for which the support of all Berliners is urgently needed to prevent the establishment of a right-wing extremist tradition of an annual march. Two calls to protest the demonstration have been issued.

Protests

 

The alliance Bündnis für ein weltoffenes und tolerantes Berlin, comprised of churches, trade unions, charities, and further civicorganizations, calls to join their protest under the slogan “Take responsibility for the Past – for our Present and the Future”, as in the past year. 

The call states:

We wish to show our support for an honest culture of memory and our responsibility to make sure the atrocities of the dictatorship of National Socialism will not repeat themselves. We are ready to take responsibility for a democratic society!

From 10:30, speeches will be given in front of Rathaus Spandau with the following speakers:

  • Lala Süsskind, chair of Jüdisches Forum für Demokratie und gegen Antisemitismus
  • Bischof Dr. Markus Dröge, Evangelische Kirche
  • Dr. Hans Hausenbiegl, dean of Dekanats Berlin Spandau
  • Ayşe Demir, board spokesperson of Türkischer Bund in Berlin-Brandenburg
  • Jan Gabriel, president of Humanistischer Verband Berlin-Brandenburg

After the event, the alliance will join the demonstration of “Spandauer Bündnis gegen Rechts” at Bahnhof Spandau train station, starting at 11:00.

The alliance Spandauer Bündnis gegen Rechts announced a demonstration on August 18 against the right-wing extremist march and calls to join their protest against the glorification of National Socialism. Meeting point is 11:00 at Spandau train station. 

So far, the call of the Spandau alliance is supported by the following organizations, further supporters are asked to join: 

Spandauer Bündnis gegen Rechts, Spandauer Regionalgruppe VVN/BdA, Berliner VVN-BdA, IG BAU, Bündnis – Aufstehen gegen Rassismus, Stadtteilzentrum Spandau – Sozial-kulturelle Netzwerke Casa e.V., DIE LINKE. Spandau, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Berlin – Kreisverband Spandau, AgR Offenburg, GRÜNE JUGEND Berlin, SPD Spandau, Türkischer Bund in Berlin-Brandenburg, Spandauer Mahnwache für Toleranz und ein friedliches Miteinander, Die katholischen Pfarrgemeinden in Spandau, Interventionistische Linke Berlin, Initiative Willkommen in Falkensee – Weiße Rose Gemeinschaft, Linksjugend ‘solid Barnim, MLPD Mitte/Spandau, Cotyar Haci, jugendtheaterwerkstatt spandau e.V., Amnesty International – Gruppe Spandau, Migrations- und Integrationsbeirat Spandau (as of July 19, 2018).

Assessment

Mobile Beratung gegen Rechtsextremismus Berlin (MBR) has published a first assessment and sheds light on the background of the continuous importance and meaning of the figure of Rudolf Heß within the neo-Nazi scene:

In 2017, 1,200 neo-Nazis and members of right-wing extremist political parties as well as smaller delegations from several European countries gathered in Berlin. A further 250 neo-Nazis “spontaneously” gathered for a simultaneous demonstration in Falkensee (Brandenburg). The main banner of the demonstration in Spandau spelled the final words of Rudolf Heß’ statement in the Nuremberg trials: “Ich bereue nichts.” (“I do not have any regrets.”) (…)

It is still too early for an estimate of the number of participants to be expected in 2018. However, the figure of Rudolf Heß holds a symbolic potential of identification which is not to be underestimated, due to the conspiracy theory of his alleged murder, which continues to circulate in the right-wing extremist scene. The annual memorial march “Rudolf-Heß-Gedenkmarsch” in Wunsiedel, where Heß lay buried until 2011, had a continuous number of several hundred participants since 2001. (…)

The mobilization for this year’s march started as early as April. So far, calls were published via the existing webpage of the organizers. It is likely to reach a nationwide audience. The local chapter of the right-wing extremist political party “Die Rechte” in Wuppertal has already announced to facilitate bus travel to Berlin. It is to be expected that further busses will arrive from other towns and cities. (…)

MBRs conclusion states: 

The resumption of the nationwide marches commemorating Heß can be read as the expression of the neo-Nazi scene’s return to its legacy of identification with the glorification of National Socialism. According to MBR, a successful march on August 18 presents the risk of a potential implementation of the tradition of regular large commemorative marches in Berlin.

Resolution

On June 13, 2018, Spandau’s council assembly has issued a resolution entitled “Spandau gegen den Marsch für Kriegsverbrecher Rudolf Heß“. The resolution states:

The council assembly of Spandau condemns the planned march of neo-Nazis for the NS war criminal Rudolf Heß on August 18. The members of the assembly wish to clarify that Spandau cannot become a place of pilgrimage for worshipping Nazis.

All residents of Spandau are encouraged to actively join the peaceful counter protests in support of the democratic civic society.

Broad counter protests can help to prevent the establishment of a new tradition of a right-wing extremist “Heßmarsch”. Any support of all Berliners to oppose the large neo-Nazi gathering is welcome to the civic society of Spandau. The counter protests of the past year constitute a solid basis (Documentation). 

We continuously update all information. Find our facebook event here. Use twitter hashtag #b1808 for August 18.