Memory of the victims of the Holocaust with AfD
The AfD can continue to be involved in the “Silent Commemoration” of the Berlin-Marzahn district for the victims of the Holocaust. Antifa and VVN do not want to allow this.
BERLIN taz | What does dignified memory of the victims of fascism and the Holocaust look like in 2020? How do you deal with people who manifestly misuse this memory in order to establish their party as a normal democratic force, whose basic program describes the memory of National Socialism as "narrowing of the German culture of remembrance" and whose executives declare it to be "bird shit"?
The debate surrounding the “Silent Remembrance” at the Parkfriedhof in Berlin-Marzahn will focus on these questions next Saturday on the occasion of the Holocaust Memorial Day. Since the AfD was elected to the district parliament of Marzahn-Hellersdorf at the end of 2016, it has – like all parliamentary groups – been invited to this event by the District Assembly (BVV) and Heimatverein Marzahn.
The protest against it is getting louder from year to year: last year, the Association of Persecuted by the Nazi Regime / Association of Antifascists (VVN / BdA) published one open letter, Numerous Nazi survivors, descendants and initiatives against the right demand: "On January 27th – no commemoration of the victims of the Nazi regime together with the AfD!" State and district politicians should "right-wing populist and extreme right-wing enemies of democracy" from district and urban commemorative events unloading.
When nobody responded from official politics, Antifa mobilized to protest: Around 30 predominantly young people gathered around the stele to commemorate 2019, unrolled a banner with the words "Commemorating the victims of fascism also means fighting to the right" – and prevented AfD Politicians about to lay a wreath. They then tried to present themselves as victims of a "red SA". BVV head Kathrin Henkel (CDU) also criticized the "disruptions". "What happened in the cemetery last year was not worthy," she told the taz.
District continues as before
For this year, according to Henkel, she has made arrangements with the police "so that the event can take place as planned". The AfD can participate, since all factions are traditionally invited to commemorate. "I am a democrat and accept that they are elected representatives too," she said.
When and where: Saturday, January 25th, Marzahn Park Cemetery, Wiesenburger Weg 10
What: 10 a.m. in front of the entrance: "Rally for peace, solidarity and openness to the world against all racism and fascist ideologies – no commemoration with the AfD". 11 a.m. in the cemetery on the stele in memory of the victims of forced labor 1939–1945: participation in the laying of wreaths and silent commemoration. Organizers: VVN / BdA and Kiezgruppe against racism Marzahn
What else: 11 a.m. also on the stele in the cemetery: anti-fascist commemoration in Marzahn – only works without the AfD !. Meeting: 10 a.m. at Ostkreuz S-Bahn station (S7). organizer: Alliance "Antifascist Remembrance", an association of different Antifa groups
More: You can find events all over Berlin at: berlin.vvn-bda.de, (Taz)
When asked by taz, the police said that in the light of the events of the previous year and the current calls for protests, preparations would be made accordingly, how exactly and with how many officials, a decision was made at short notice.
The announcement of the district is again interpreted by Antifa as a "declaration of war". So it says in a spread over Indymedia Call from the Alliance "Anti-Fascist Remembrance": "With police violence, the district government wants to support the commemorative hypocrisy of the AfD and at the same time exclude anti-fascists."
So it is quite possible that things will get going on Saturday in the cemetery. An idea that Uta G. of the Kiezgruppe against racism Marzahn is not very pleasant. She, too, who did not want to read her full name in the newspaper for fear of the NPD, which had already threatened her, found the "young Antifa" protest last year "not quite pleasant, not as we do are used to in the east ”. However, she did not want “that the Democrats should be played off against each other. There are no good or bad anti-fascists. "
"The scandal is that the AfD is participating"
For this year, the Kiez Group, together with the Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance and the VVN, has called for a "rally for peace, solidarity and openness to the world against all racism and fascist ideologies – no commemoration with the AfD". Among the speakers will be the VVN Honorary Chairman Hans Coppi, son of Hilde and Hans Coppi, who were executed by the Nazis in Plötzensee as members of the resistance group "Red Chapel". Afterwards, they would jointly participate in the silent commemoration on the stele for the victims of Nazi forced labor, said G. If the AfD wanted to lay a wreath again, they would protest "quietly".
Marcus Tervooeren, Managing Director of VVN, is also disappointed with the district's "keep it up". The problem last year was not the “disruption” of Antifa, as the CDU and home club said: “The scandal is that the AfD is taking part in the event. That is unacceptable for us. ”He could understand“ formal-democratic ”the argument that the AfD as“ part of the democratic system ”cannot be excluded from public events. But he would find it good, according to Tervooeren, "if politicians, as a private person, loudly and publicly distance themselves from the fact that the AfD is instrumental in remembrance".
The BVV manager from Marzahn does not seem to have such a need. In response to a question, she only explained that there were enough opportunities to express yourself accordingly, for example in the BVV. "There is a place for protest," said Henkel.
The district mayor of Lichtenberg, Michael Grunst (left), reacted very differently to the question of distance from the AfD. "I share VVN / BdA's criticism," he told the taz. The participation of AfDlers in Nazi memorial events is "unbearable for the relatives". However, it is "difficult" to exclude such people from public events.
Antifa demands an exclusion clause
In Lichtenberg in 2018, a few dozen anti-fascists prevented AfD city councilor Frank Elischewski from laying a wreath. Grunst had then attended all of the district's events itself last year. "None of the AfD lay wreaths, we organize it." Beyond that, Grunst thinks, the best thing is civil society protest: "It can be loud."
For the coming year, the "Anti-Fascist Remembrance" alliance is demanding that the district's invitation include an "exclusion clause" for people "who represent or advocate a (neo) fascist or inhuman policy". Such was the case, for example, when the district called to commemorate the “Köpenicker Blutwoche” 2018, said Tim Reiche from the alliance.
It is unlikely that this will happen in Marzahn. Because at the co-organizer of BVV, the Heimatverein Marzahn, there is considerable personnel overlap with the AfD. At least three members of the AfD parliamentary group in the BVV are also members of the association, as its published list of members shows, as is Gunnar Lindemann, who sits in the House of Representatives for the right and is an avowed fan of the right wing.
In view of this, the Antifa Alliance also demands that the memorial event be resolved by the home association. "But there," says Reiche, "nobody dares to do it."