Column german angst: red carpet for the nazis in kothen

On Sunday, right-wing extremists walked through Kothen again. But instead of opposing the Nazis, many just close their eyes.

Nearly 1,400 right-wingers took to the streets in Kothen on Sunday Photo: dpa

Yes, I was in Kothen before Sunday. There I visited a Russian acquaintance at the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences. At that university of applied sciences, which now warned its students to go to the city on Sunday. Even an emergency hotline was set up for. Right-wingers or Nazis were not mentioned, only "potentially dangerous demonstrations". The students will have understood.

On Sunday I was there for the second time. Kothen has not even 26,000 inhabitants and a few guests more: fascists, right-wingers and bourgeois fanboys. But also a few hundred counter-demonstrators. A woman wrote in a forum that the people of Kothen wished that no one would travel to peaceful Kothen on Sunday. Nobody. She writes: The streets are not as big as those in Chemnitz. Many see it like this woman. Better to close your eyes, cover your head. Hitler greetings, hate speech and incitement are only dramatic when they are reported to the police. A few days later. Or never.

Saxony-Anhalt’s Interior Minister Holger Stahlknecht asks the population to close their eyes to fascists and right-wingers. Literally. The people of Kothen should lower their shutters "to set a sign that you don’t want to see them."

Understand this surrender who wants. It is absolutely understandable that quite a few people, where everyone knows everyone, are afraid to take to the streets against Nazis. Absolutely incomprehensible, however, are those who have rushed ahead of Stahlknecht and demand that the small remnant of committed people from outside avoid Kothen. They roll out the red carpet for the right-wingers, clear the colorfully painted streets for hate, agitation and attacks.

Being nice is not enough

Yet the mood in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt is the same: quite a few non-right-wingers, even among those in power, are afraid that their town will be set on fire under their official chair, that people would rather let their village burn than breathe the same air with newcomers. At the end of last week, politicians from the region met in Dessau. They signed the coat of arms of the town of Kothen, which read: "We wish strength, courage and support to all those who, in the face of grief and anger and bewilderment, continue to respect and live the basic values of a democratic state: Diversity, openness to the world and tolerance."

That is right and a nice gesture. But nice is no longer enough in a mood reminiscent of the 90s. The greeting word is like the very last message, set off from a remnant of intelligent life and sent into space. Bye, that was us. We don’t do politics anymore. May we still greet someone? Yes, then those who stand up for democracy in our place!

One can only hope that soon politics will be made again. From the parliaments and city governments, where people look and do not look away.

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