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The development of right-wing extremism in Germany / Chemnitz: cause for growing concern and horrific memories

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During a working stay at the Auschwitz Memorial, Christoph Heubner, Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee, commented on right-wing extremist developments in Germany and on the marches planned in Chemnitz next weekend by neo-Nazis and potentially violent groups:

"Auschwitz survivors throughout the world feel the right-wing extremist developments in Chemnitz are dramatic. Holocaust survivors are watching with concern as right-wing groups attempt to take over the streets and bring their hatred to the towns and cities. Justin Sonder, who was persecuted as a Jew, survived Auschwitz and yet quite naturally returned to his home town of Chemnitz, was made an honorary citizen there in 2017. Not only for him are the current developments awakening horrific memories of the times when he, and people like him, were hounded through the streets by a murderous anti-Semitic mob.

The survivors of Auschwitz are not sure whether all of the politically responsible people and the citizens who stand by them are truly aware of how serious the situation is. The contempt for democracy that is being openly declared on the streets, and the fanatic hatred expressed by the demonstrators not only towards the representatives of the republic, is painfully reminding the Auschwitz survivors of the downfall of Germany that they experienced first-hand. They are, however, clerly aware that the growth of right-wing extremism and the repeated signs of similarities in the ideas of the far right and those of people responsible in politics and the police, have been tolerated and played down for far too many years, especially in Saxony.

The far-right march next weekend will show whether the police are able to assert the ‘monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force’ in the interest of Germany and the inhabitants of Chemnitz. The coming weekend will also be the hour of reckoning for the AfD: it will show whether the AfD belongs decisively to the hatred on the streets through its joint-responsibility for these developments, or whether its place is in the parliaments."