by (ed.) ‘Dissonanz’ author collective
The discussion and lecture tour throughout East Germany by the Hamburger Wohlfahrtsausschuss stops off in Dresden, too. An antifascist group from Hamburg has produced flyers and posters to be distributed in Dresden. In these flyers the group points out the German role during National Socialism and addresses the racist pogrom-like atmosphere in the early 1990s. The observation of the current situation results in the bottom line at the end of the flyer: “Bomber Harris says: I would do it again. We say: Do it, now!” This sentence sparks controversial discussions among the groups following this tour, and finally it is being decided to not hang up these posters in Dresden. Although they are being put up in Hamburg at the 50th anniversary of the bombing.
February 12 and 13
An anti-german event with provocative character is being planned under the slogan “No peace with Germany! No tear for Dresden – Against the German cult of victimhood!” Preparations for a nationwide intervention against the cult of victimhood by several groups are taking place by the anti-german group “Don’t Cry at the 8th of May – No Tears For Krauts!” from Leipzig. The action did not took place after no consensus between the groups could be achieved.
Instead, two independent actions take place. At February 12 the antinationalist plenum Hamburg protests with a banner during the remembrance service inside the Hofkirche. Guests of the event were, among others, Helmut and Hannelore Kohl. The formal commemoration ceremony with the Federal President at that time Roman Herzog takes place in the Kulturpalast (Palace of Culture) and is criticized by the anti-german group “Don’t Cry at the 8th of May” from Leipzig with banners and flyers.
After there was no response to the 50th anniversary within the Dresden left, activist from the Infoladen Schlagloch developed two poster designs in order to put the topic on the agenda. The first image shows the Dresden Schlossstraße during the Reichstheaterwoche (Reichs Theatre Week) 1934 decorated with swastika flags and an added slogan “Some things will never have happened!” At the second one a Dresden daily live picture from the time of National Socialism is shown together with the slogan “German perpetrators are no victims”. Left groups within a wide spectrum hung up the first poster, while the message of the second one goes too far.
The A.N.D. (Autonomous News Service, flyer of the magazine venceremos) is published as a poster with the slogan “I give a shit about your national consensus” and a collection of textes on the back side. The texts provided by the Infoladen Schlagloch, contained contrary positions to initiate a discussion about the bombing and its handling within the Dresden left.
At the evening of February 13 protests against the wreath-laying ceremony take place at Frauenkirche.
The first time a registered march by Nazis takes place from main station via Prager Straße to the Frauenkirche. While a small group of Nazis was stopped by the police in the previous year, the Dresden Nazi scene gained more self-confidence after their march against the exhibition “War crimes of the Wehrmacht” at the 24th of January. The Nazis are convoyed and attacked by a few antifascists. There are attempts to interfere with the wreath-laying at the Frauenkirche.
The Antifa Research Team Dresden organizes various actions under the motto “Better a bomb on the head as to Auschwitz …” this year. Two events – a panel discussion with Hermann L. Gremliza, Udo Behner and Tjark Kunstreich and a video installation at the Frauenkirche – take place to question left historical revisionism and the annual ritual of commemoration.
The video installation can be seen at all three entrances to the Neumarkt/Frauenkirche.
At February 13 the inauguration of a Arthur-Harris-Memorial is planned as part of a manifestation in the inner city in the presence of former Royal Air Force officers. Despite the obvious lack of seriousness, fellow Dresdeners threaten to lynch the organizers for the announced action. The event becomes a number one topic of the local press, where there is no shortage of statements of historical revisionism this days. The inauguration is cancelled just before February 13.
venceremos.antifa.net calls to a demonstration in the city centre of Dresden. The city administration shifts the demonstration route out of the inner city area in order to protect the commemoration. venceremos.antifa.net files a complaint against the ban zone which city administration established by a general ruling. In the evening a manifestation accompanied by techno music is planned to break the air of mourning. Unfortunetaly technics upsets the plan, the manifestation does not take place. There are attempts to interfere with the wreath-laying at the Frauenkirche.
The carnival committee of the Autonomous Antifa Dresden against German chauvinism calls for action against the Nazi march and protests against the commemoration in front of the Frauenkirche with the slogan “Call for carnival – good mood against bad habits. Confront the monster-mob shit and stop the Neonazi march!”.
There are confetti bags attached to the flyers to support the carnival mood. The club RM16 invites for tea-time and opens the exhibition “with trash-art through the 13th of February”. In the evening anti-fascists distribute copies of the historical leaflet “a message from the commander-in-chief of the British combat aircrafts to the German people” with champagne, confetti and slogans like “German perpetrators are no victims”. The next day original English breakfast is served at club RM16, where the exhibition can be seen.
Jörg Friedrich presents his book “The Fire” in the context of an event on the subject “Germany in the bomb war” at the 4th of September. Anti-fascists interfere with the lecture using frenetic applause and critical questions. Finally stink bombs and fire-alarm help to end the event.
February 9 – 20
The group//sabotage organizes a series of events under the motto “Deutschland Trau(er)t sich wieder” about the topics “New German national sentiment” with Martin Rohloff and Hannes G. (Leipzig), “February 13 – a national holiday?!” with Martin Blumentritt and “anti-Americanism, peace movement and February 13” with Sebastian Voigt and Karsten Völtzke (Leipzig).
For the first time the group “Friday 13″ calls for a nation-wide alliance under the slogan ”Targeting the German victim’s myth – against all forms of historical revisionism!”, for actions against the commemoration and a demonstration. The “Bündnis gegen Rechts” Leipzig supports the demonstration with an own call “Thank you, Mr. Harris – No tears for krauts”. About 500 anti-fascists demonstrate accompanied with the music of the band Mash Gordon at the edge of the inner city. A subsequent interference takes place during the bell-ringing in front of the Frauenkirche with champagne and chanting.
For the first time two Nazi marches take place. About 400 anti-fascists follow the call “Tears of Nazis galore – against all forms of historical revisionism”. Like in a game of cat-and-mouse large groups of Nazis move around the inner city and attack anti-fascists. A left-wing protest is nearly impossible due to the high numbers of Nazis.
The Antifa Research Team addresses the cemetery Heidefriedhof as a place of remembrance in a videoclip for mobilization against the Nazi march and the civic commemoration. Accompanied by the Matrix song “Clubbed to death” the film shows an animation of the memorial place, followed by pictures of the commemoration and the Nazi march.
The poster “Some things will never have happened” is published as postcard.
June 2 – 4
“Forms of cinematic memory – visual strategies of remembrance of – and reflection on the Holocaust in film”, a film seminar with Tobias Ebbrecht at the Academy of Fine Arts, is organised by group//sabotage.
Critical attendance at a movie: “Grandma, Grandpa and Hans-Peter were no victims but perpetrators” – flyers and champange at the Dresden premiere of “The Downfall” (Der Untergang) by the group//sabotage. The activists break off the action after being physically attacked by other spectators.
February 12 and 13
A nation-wide alliance invites to a demonstration in Dresden at February 12 with the slogan “If Germany, then Dresden – no tears for krauts” and for decentralized actions against the commemoration at February 13. Another call of the Autonomous Antifa Dresden focusses more on the Nazi march, which they find underrepresented in the call of the alliance. Beforehand a mobilization demo takes place in Berlin at January 30. 700 anti-fascists attend a demonstration through the city center to the Frauenkirche. There is a call for intervention “11am to 11pm” against the civic mob and the Nazi march. A registered manifestation at the Synagoge functions as a meeting point for the whole day. Tea, snacks and information are provided. Egotronic gives a concert in the evening. On that day more than 1.000 anti-fascists from all over Germany protest against the commemoration and the Nazi march in various ways. At 9:45 pm during bell-ringing three fireworks go off. Activists serve champagne, beer and chants, and hand out tissues with hidden subversive flyers inside.
June 24 -26
Under the title “Good Germans, Bad Nazis” a film seminar at the Academy of Fine Arts Dresden takes place with Tobias Ebbrecht, organized by group//sabotage.
A reading by group//sabotage takes place at the 61st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz at the 7th Floor Dresden. Autobiographical reports of Primo Levi, Inka Wajsbort and Halina Birenbaum are being read to focus on these people, who escaped the mania of annihilation only by chance. Individuals whose survivals had to be wrest from the german project of “total murder”. This murder, the annihilation of the European Jews, simultaneously followed the agenda of annihilating any memory of them.
About 1.000 anti-fascists take part in a trans-regional demonstration against the Nazi march and the myth of Dresden being a victim of WW2. The demonstration ends just 500 meters away from the starting point of the Nazi parade. The attempt to blockade the Nazi march even before the start is spoilt by a massive force of police. However, there is a successful blockade of the Augustus Bridge eventually, over which the planned route of the Nazi parade should go. After hours of waiting and temperatures below zero the Nazis turn around and take the same way back to their starting point. For the very first time the so called Nazi Mourning Parade has been blocked in Dresden.
An antifascist demonstration against the city government’s commemoration on the city cemetery Heidefriedhof takes place for the first time. Historical revisionism openly expressed by the Stelenkreis is criticized as well as the common commemoration of citizens together with nazis. About 100 anti-fascists gather on a Monday morning opposite the main entrance of the cemetery clearly visible and audible. The formal wreath-laying at the memorial site of the cemetery is critically commented by a banner.
July 28 – 30
Under the title “Imaginations of femininity, family and German nation – National Socialism and post-National Socialist culture in German movies” a film seminar at the Academy of Fine Arts Dresden takes place with Tobias Ebbrecht and Till Harning, organised by group//sabotage.
An antifascist gala as a kick-off event for the mobilization campaign for the antifascist demonstration at February 13th takes place with about 50 guests. The motto “Deconstruct – Against all forms of historical revisionism – German perpetrators are no victims.” is presented as well as the call for action, the poster and the film production “The myth of the innocent city” by the collective Filmpiraten. The film documents the activities of anti-fascists at February 13, 2006 and also the civic commemoration which is characterized by the victim’s myth and historical revisionism.
“One always says, we had been liberated. I have not been liberated from Auswitz.” (Sarah Goldberg). January 27 a reading on the occasion of the 62th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz takes place at 7th Floor Dresden organised by group//sabotage with reflections of Shoa survivors about the (im)possibility of liberation from/of Auschwitz.
The second time an antifascist manifestation against the city government’s commemoration with Nazis takes place under the slogan “Against all forms of historical revisionism – at the cemetery Heidefriedhof, in the city center and elsewhere”.
A trans-regional alliance calls for the antifascist demonstration on February 13 under the motto “Deconstruct! Against all forms of historical revisionism. German perpetrators are no victims. Stop the Nazi parade.” in the Dresden city center. The purpose of the demonstration is, both, to express critique of historical revisionism and the commemoration and to blockade the Nazi Parade.
The campaign “Stop the glorification of National Socialism” supports the mobilisation against the Nazi parade with a website and an own call to block “No place for the glorification of National Socialism! No space for the distortion of history!”
About 1.500 anti-fascists follow the calls to Dresden. The demonstration is broken up by the organizers already after half the route at the closest point to the Nazi’s marching route, with the purpose to blockade it. The intention fails because of the massive police force, which at first succeeds in pushing the protesters into the direction of the city center. There they break in on the silent commemoration atmosphere of the Dresdeners. Later step-by-step a remarkable part of the demonstrators achieves to get onto the route of the Nazis and to hold up the march with serveral blockades. Not until late evening the more than 1.500 Nazis get under way on a shortened route, pass by the Synagogue and arrive at the City Hall at midnight. The Nazi march – which meanwhile shrank to only 500 participants – ends around 00:30 am at the pond at the Zwinger Palace.
The preparation group Februar 13 as initiative against all form of historical revisionism organizes a manifestation on Februar 13 and a demonstration at Februar 16 with the slogan “Your own fault!” Moreover the initiative sends an open letter to all members of city and state parliament, in which it criticizes the historical revisionism of the commemoration in Dresden in general and at the city cemetery Heidefriedhof in particular and calls for a critical reflection.
Once again an antifascist manifestation of about 100 participants takes place against the commemoration in front of the Heidefriedhof cemetery entrance. In the evening another manifestation at the synagogue functions as a meeting point for up to 300 anti-fascists, who attempt to oppose the Nazi march. Darkness and extensive police presence prevent any kind of interference of the so called mourning march.
The regulatory agency (“Ordnungsamt”) shifts the registered antifascist demonstration for February 16 out of the inner city area to Dresden-Neustadt at the other side of the river Elbe in order to enable a trouble-free procedure of the Nazi march. The registration for the demo is cancelled therefore. A manifestation in front of the main station is registered on short notice and serves as a replacement for about 1.000 anti-fascists. From there the participants succeed to get under way into the direction of the inner city and onto the route of the Nazi march despite the police forces. Another blockade of 250 people simultaneously takes place at the synagogue. Another demonstration “Geh-denken (Go and think)” with 3.000 citizens walks from Goldener Reiter to the synagogue, too. Therefore the Nazis have to accept changes of their route again. For the first time it was possible to prevent thousands of Nazis passing by the Dresden synagogue.
The Dresden group “No Pasarán” is constituted with the main focus on the Nazi march dissociating itself from the previous mobilizations. A nation-wide antifa-alliance under the label No Pasarán mobilizes for activities against the Nazi march in February 2009.
November 5 – 11
The audio-guided city walk “audioscript on the persecution and annihilation of Jews in Dresden 1933-1945” is presented from November 5 to 11 on occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Pogromnacht. It is introduced by the authors and Dr. Holger Birkholz (Academy of Fine Arts Dresden). Later on the screening of the film “Pourqoui Israel” by Claude Lanzmann takes place. During the week audioscript on mp3 Players can be borrowed from the Project Room in Gewandhausstraße 2, afterwards the devices for public use are being transfered to the Dresden City Museum and the Jewish Community Center.
The audiocript is an audio production which presents the German society during National Socialism, its continuity up to the present day and its treatment of the Shoa at 12 places The audioscript is provided in German and English.
January 20 – 29
Series of events by the preparation group February 13 and the department for political education at the Technical University Dresden with Claudia Krieg “The nation of reformed commemorative experts – levelling, equalisation and identity formation within the german commemorative discourse using the example of the new federal law on memorial sites”; Gunda Ulbricht, “HATiKVA Dresden: Commemoration in Dresden using the example of the 9th of November”; Claudia Jerzak, “Dresden, February 13 – the debate on ritual and symbol structures within commemorative culture from a protagonist perspective”; Antonia Schmid, “Commemoration and German history in the media – the recent German histotainment event movies”.
A commemoration event at Johannesfriedhof carried out by Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge (War Graves Commission) and the Protestant church is criticized loudly and with banners by anti-fascists. The one-sided perspective of commemoration of the victims is to be countered by focussing on adversaries and victims of the nazi regime.
Some 800 anti-fascists follow the call for a concert rally in front of Altmarktgalerie with the bands Frittenbude and Egotronic. The concert is promoted by the label audiolith with its own poster. This rally is meant to counter the air of mourning on February 13 with speeches, good music and a cheerful atmosphere. Afterwards the nazi march in the evening is to be disturbed. From early evening hours on, the rally is enclosed by police and nobody is allowed to leave – as long as one is not willing to provide personal data, being fotographed and accepts being expelled from the inner-city. As a result, the nazi march can be carried out unimpeded and without any disturbance.
A registered rally in front of the Altmarktgalerie, which is meant to be contact point for anti-fascists who try to interfere with the Nazi march is being transfered to the other side of the river Elbe by the local authorities.
The demonstration by No Pasarán against the Nazi marches with around 4.000 antifascists. The route which was initially declared to start at main station and lead through the old town of Dresden, is later transferred to the other side of the river by the office of public order. The demonstration cannot get near enough to the Nazi march to be seen or heard because the start was delayed by the police. The police repeatedly interferes with the demonstration.
The preparation group February 13 is now called group No reconciliation with Germany.
“In the night from Monday to Tuesday, the extensive redesign of the Dresdner Heidefriedhof, which has been overdue for a long time, has been brought to mind explicitly. According to police reports, ‘unknown offenders’ took heart and gave the ‘Memorial for the victims of the bomb attack’ a new coating: as as for the morning of February 9, it is now shining in white and pink instead the former grey and brown” reports venceremos.antifa.net.
Up to 1.500 anti-fascists take part in a demonstration on the evening before the 65th anniversary of the bomb attack on Dresden. Their goal is to criticize the annual commemoration of german victims. The demonstration under the motto “No reconciliation with Germany. German perpetrators are no victims” is concluded at Schlossplatz by a concert with the band Egotronic.
For the anniversary there is a wide range of activities criticizing the commemoration. Even Pink Rabbit goes for one last trip at the 65th anniversary to critically accompany the Pathway of Remembrance. It is joined by a carnival reveler, who throws pink paper planes from the vendor’s tray of Pink Rabbit. At Busmannkapelle, another station of the Pathway of Remembrance, banners are being unveiled and brochures distributed which criticize the staging of Dresden as a victim. At the commemoration event in the evening in front of the Frauenkirche, the silence is being broken by alarm beepers and “German perpetrators are not victims”-chants. The ecumenical service is being loudly and critically accompanied. The peal of bells at 9:45pm is flanked with fireworks, a banner unveiled vis-à-vis of Frauenkirche and more chants. The candles are being extinguished with a leaf blower.
This year, the mobilization against victim’s myth and nazi march is supported by “gruppe gegenstrom” and “basisgruppe geschichte Göttingen”, Avanti Projekt undogmatische Linke, TOP B3rlin, autonome antifa [f] from Frankfurt M. with individual calls from each group.
For the first time, the so called mourning march of the JLO at February 13 is blocked. The alliances “Dresden Nazifrei” and “No pasaràn” managed to mobilize 12.000 people in mass blockades. From the early morning hours thousands of blockers show up around Neustädter Bahnhof. Due to the quarter-wide chaos, including burning barricades, disoriented nazi cars and busses which drive into anti-fascist’s blockades, several attempts of the police to remove the blockades fail. The mobilization succeeds at the expense of a critique of the revisionist commemoration in Dresden.
“No reconciliation with Germany” calls for critical attendance of the commemoration. With the help of several spontaneous actions it is accomplished to disturb the commemoration of the bombing of Dresden. 60 people held a demonstration against the commemoration with banners, flyers and a speech at the city cemetery Heidefriedhof. The human chain “against violence and extremism” is split at various points as about 300 critics of the commemoration move spontaneously in direction of the Frauenkirche while chanting “Germany, never again!” and “german perpetrators are no victims”. About 100 people disturb the silent commemoration at the Frauenkirche in the evening and fireworks start at 9.45 pm just in time for the peal of bells.
Right before the human chain begins, several people shape the word “Shoa” out of candles in front of the Frauenkirche, and thereby provoke different reactions of passers-by. Mostly a lack of understanding.
The memorial walk along the traces of Nazi criminals wants to change the perspective regarding February 13 in Dresden. It uncovers them as part of Dresden’s history. During the themed walk through Dresden it is supposed to bring prominent Nazi-offenders to mind, like Martin Mutschmann, Henry Schmidt, and Ernst Wegner, as well as to look back on everyday life of persecution and outlawing. Locations of compulsory labor, armor production, as well as the Judenlager Hellerberg shall be retrieved from oblivion to consciousness.
The city administration Dresden makes the execution of the commemoration march’s concept impossible by placing it at the Neustadt side of the river Elbe. Because only the Nazi march is supposed to walk through the inner city – undisturbed. About 500 people show up at Comeniusplatz for a manifestation, despite of the actual prohibition regarding the commemoration march, and to protest against the regulative ignorance. The Leipziger Volkszeitung reported that afterward a small group has walked the commemoration march’s route, ignored by the police.
Dresden Nazifrei calls for an intervention against the Nazi march in the evening with the motto “To make short work”. Although the full prevention of the Nazi march does not succeed, the protest of several thousand people within the range of audibility and visibility is seen as a success.
“Dresden gut, alles gut?!” asks TOP B3RLIN in the context of a panel discussion with Olaf Kistenmacher and Danilo Starosta in the socio-cultural center Scheune in Dresden.
Dresden Nazifrei again mobilizes for mass blockades on Saturday. 20.000 people, coming from the whole federal territory, prevent the great march of the Nazis.
The Saxon administration’s attempts to criminalize the alliance Dresden Nazifrei in advance. This does not reduce the success of the protests. A police task force attacks the Haus der Begegnung, the office where Dresden Nazifrei resides, at February 19. All 17 attendant people are arrested, their fingerprints taken and photographed, 10 laptops, 14 mobile phones and all permanently installed technical devices are confiscated. Investigations, according to §129 StGB – the creation of a criminal union, against the arrested people are undertaken for one and a half year until the proceedings are closed in July 2012. Moreover, the police performs extensive surveillance measures inside the municipal area during February 13 and 19. More than a million data records are collected and stored by radio cell inquiries. Afterwards police and prosecution take action against sit-in activists by initiating hundreds of preliminary proceedings due to violation of the assembly act.
The connection of commemoration criticism on the one hand and mobilization against the Nazi march on the other is supported by different groups with their own calls for action: TOP B3RLIN: “Dresden gut, alles gut?! Torwards a critique of the commemoration culture in Dresden or Every City gets the Nazi march it deserves.”; the nationwide alliance No Pasarán: “Block Nazis – fight nonsense about extremism and victim’s myth” and “Switch off the lights! 13th February – Destroy the spirit of Dresden!”, including the website dresden-opferfrei.de.vu and an own poster from Thüringen.
Similar to the previous year activists intervene at the commemoration at the city cemetery Heidefriedhof, the human chain and the Silent commemoration at the Frauenkirche although a massive force of police limits the scope for creative actions this time.
In 2012 the memorial walk takes place without any problems compared to the quasi-ban in the previous year. 2.500 people visit various locations of National Socialist crimes in Dresden.
The alliance Dresden Nazifrei! mobilizes once more against the Nazi march in the evening of February 13. 6.000 protesters make sure, with the help of several blockades, that the march of about 1.500 Nazis with torches walks just one kilometer and turns into a disaster.
The Nazi march on the weekend is cancelled that year based on internal debates and organizational incompetence and because of the resolute antifascist practice of the previous years. Nonetheless, the alliance Dresden Nazifrei sticks to the mobilization to Dresden and helds a demonstration from main station to the Haus der Begegnung. An alliance of anti-Saxon extremists with participate with an own “extrem_is(t)_in”-block against the criminalization of antifascist commitment and the Saxon particularities. About 10.000 people from all over Germany take part in the demonstration.
Citation (ed.) ‘Dissonanz’ author collective: Chronology of the protests, in: Abolish Commemoration – A Critique of the Discourse to the Bombing of Dresden in 1945, online at http://www.abolishcommemoration.org/XXXXXXX[dd.mm.yyyy].
translated by Heike Ehrlich