Beer crate

In Saxony alone, over 49 neo-Nazi concerts took place in the year 2018. In June 2019 neo-Nazis met anew for the fourth neo-Nazi festival Shield and Sword (‘Schild und Schwert’) in the east-Saxon town of Ostritz. But they had not reckoned with the 2.300 citizens of Ostritz. The administrative court of Dresden had imposed an alcohol-ban on the festival; the police had confiscated the beer reserves of the NPD-organizer Thorsten Heise. But that was not all. What they did not know: The people of Ostritz, together with the Internationales Begegnungszentrum St. Marienthal(‘International meeting centre St. Marienthal’) bought up the entire beer stock of the local supermarket. The neo-Nazis were left literally ‘high and dry’.

The campaign No beer for Nazis was a spontaneous counter-protest that formed part of the Ostritz Peace Festival with demonstrations, counter-events, concerts and artistic activities and approximately 1000 participants. Since 2018, the people of Ostritz have been involved in the local Peace Festival, in order to take a stand for democracy and against right-wing extremism.

In December 2019, the Ostritzer Friedensfest was awarded the special prize of the German Engagement Award.Their campaign No beer for Nazis was nominated for the Pop Culture Prize in the category “most interesting idea/campaign”.

The beer crate to be auctioned was symbolically provided by the people of Ostritz.

Bill of indictment

”We accuse!” At three tribunals, the Aktionsbündnis NSU-Komplex auflösen! (Action Alliance to ‘Dissolve the NSU Complex!‘), together with those affected by NSU terror and racist violence, have publicly accused over 120 persons responsible in the NSU complex. As counteraccusations to the narrative of the state they reveal the continuity of racism in Germany. This hardback edition encompasses for the first time all three charges of the NSU tribunals (2017 Köln, 2018 Mannheim, 2019 Chemnitz/Zwickau).

The NSU-trial was probably one of the most important political trials of the past decades in Germany. While shredded files and locked reports of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, large memory gaps and the blatantly obvious lies of officials determined the trial, the idea of a counter-tribunal arose. At the centre of the three trials stood those affected by racist and Nazi violence. Their migration-related expertise on racism, their experiences, their suffering and their battles became visible and audible. For years, they had been criminalised as offenders through the racist prejudices of politics, the police, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the judiciary system and the media. The residents of Keupstraße in Köln ([nailbomb attack of the NSU in 2004) depict this stigmatisation by the media as a “bomb after the bomb”.

Still today, the ‘NSU as a network of comrades lives on. The verdict passed in the official NSU-trial is tantamount to an encouragement of Neo-Nazis to emulate the NSU, something that is exemplified by the terrorist attacks in Halle and Hanau, the murder of Walter Lübcke and the 15-year-old Arkan Hussein Kh., as well as the threat emails sent by the NSU 2.0. The demand for denazification under the appeal Kein Schlussstrich! (“No closure!”) remains more relevant now than ever.

In 20217, the alliance was awarded the Antonio-Amadeu-Prize.

Spray can

The street-art artist describes herself as a Polit-Putze (translates as ‘political plasterer’). In her drive to remove the Nazi-garbage, she has destroyed over 85.600 right wing stickers and several thousand Nazi graffities in the whole of Germany since 2007. For her decade-long effort and engagement against hate in public spaces since the 1980s she has been awarded the prize Aktiv für Demokratie und Toleranz (‘Active for democracy and tolerance‘) the Göttinger Peace prize, the Silvio-Meier-Prize and the Jochen-Bock-Prize.

This stands in stark contrast to the state repression which she faces time and time again. A total of 18 investigative procedures have been conducted against Mensah-Schramm.

In the 2016 Berlin criminal trial, the state prosecutor observed a lack of “remorse, insight and exemplary behaviour” in Mensah-Schramm and lodged an appeal against the too “lenient sentence”.

Last year, simultaneously to the right-wing terrorist attack in Halle, she was sentenced to a 1.050 € fine without probation by the Eisenach district court. Because also the over-spraying of hate-graffiti is considered as property damage and as a criminal offence to be prosecuted.

With the spray can exhibited here, she over-sprayed a democracy-hostile graffiti in Bautzen in 2017 with a red heart and was promptly charged by a police-member for her “criminal actions”.

With her own travelling exhibition Hate destroys / Hate destroyed (‘Hass vernichtet’) she has already toured through Germany more than 400 times. She conducts creative workshops for schoolchildren, in which she passes on her voluntary commitment.

Smartphone

On the 27th August 2018, Pro Chemnitz (extreme right-wing citizens’ movement) announced a Demo in Chemnitz. More than 6000 participants answered the call, among them countless right-wing extremists who were prepared to use violence from the ‘NDP‘ (German neo-Nazi Party), ‘Der III. Weg‘ (‘The III. Way‘), ‘Die Rechte‘ (‘The Right‘ – neo-Nazi party), the “Kameradschaftsszene”, ‘Pegida‘ (‘Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident‘) and the ‘Identitarian movement‘.

The completely unprepared Saxon police force, with only 600 officers in action, was hopelessly overwhelmed. Nazis performed Hitler salutes, shouted Nazi-slogans and were able, on account of the failed deployment strategy, to assault People of Colour, journalists and counter-demonstrators. A Jewish restaurant was also attacked.

Through their research, Antifa Zeckenbiss were able to secure footage of one of these hunts, filmed by the Nazis themselves and available online for a brief period, which they consequently circulated on Twitter. An extensive debate around the term „Hetzjagd“ (translates as ‘hunt’ or ‘hounding’) was sparked in politics. This debate was torpedoed by the very man, who was actually responsible for the fight against extremism in Germany: The head of the ‘Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz‘ (‘domestic intelligence service of the Federal Republic of Germany‘), Hans-Georg Maaßen. Initially, he cast doubt on the authenticity of the videos, then suspected deliberate misinformation on the part of Antifa Zeckenbiss, got caught up in conspiracy theories and, just like the Saxon Minister-President Michael Kretschmer, played down the danger coming from the Right.

The Federal government first reacted to Maaßen’s controversial statements with a promotion to ‘State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs‘, thereafter by appointing him as “Special Envoy for European and International Affairs”. It was not until in November 2018 that Maaßen was put into provisional retirement following widespread protests from within politics and civil society.

Badge

On the 26th September 2019 there was a heated debate in the Bundestag around a motion by the AfD (‘Alternative for Germany‘- German extreme right-wing party) for the “Review of a nationwide ban of the Antifa”. In her speech, Martina Renner thanked “the Antifa” for their unrelenting work and constant commitment to “opposing the advance of the Right in many places”. She stressed the “disastrous tradition of aversion with regard to left-wing politics and the equation of fascism and antifascism”. As a sign of her thanks she wore a badge of the Antifaschistische Aktion (‘Antifascist Action‘) on the lapel of her jacket, for which she received a call to order with the added threat of a fine. The vice president of the German Parliament Kubicki (FDP – German Liberal Democratic Party) saw the “honour of the house” violated by the Antifa-badge. Uli Grötsch (SPD – German Social Democratic Party) on the other hand, did not receive a call to order for wearing a badge of the Eiserne Front (‘Iron Front’) on the very same day. Kubicki gave further reasons:

The call to order to Die LINKE ( German Socialist Party) was intended to put an end to the tumultuous scenes, particularly of the AfD– a fatal signal of encouragement for the Right.

Christoph Bernstiel (CDU – conservative German Christian Democratic Party) said of the Antifa-ban: the Minister-President election in Thüringen in October 2019 must bring an end to the reign of “Antifa sympathisers” (The government consists of DIE LINKE, SPD and the Greens).

This demand, which was based on anti-Communism and Horseshoe-theory, was fulfilled in the election. CDU, AfD and FDP voted in collusive arrangement for Thomas Kemmerich (FDP). But through bouquet-throwing, demonstrations and the protests #Nichtmituns- Kein Pakt mit Faschist*innen: niemals und nirgendwo! (‘#Notwithus- No Pact with fascists: never and nowhere!’), the opened door for a conservative-extreme-right alliance in Thüringenwas able to be closed again. Thank you Antifa!

Martina Renner is a spokesperson for antifascist politics in the left-faction of the Bundestag.

Flag

Local self-governance, direct democracy, gender equality, adherence to a social contract, a communal economy and sustainable ecology are the basic constitutional principles of the autonomous region of Rojava (meaning ‘west’ in Kurdish), which was established in 2012. In the middle of the Syrian civil war, Kurdish, Assyrian, Arabian and other peoples in the region came together to form People’s Defense Units YPG/YPJ and created a democracy beyond the nation state, capitalism and the patriarchy. The Kurdish women’s movement and the feminist women’s fighting units YPJ take on a central role in this radical democratic leftist model of society.

In stark contrast to this, Kurdish women and men experience massive repression in Germany for their commitment: house searches, demonstration bans, prison sentences. Displaying political symbols, since 2017 also the YPJ flag, can be reason enough for a criminal prosecution.

In a controversial decision in 2019, the Kurdish book publisher Mezopotamien (‘Mezopotamia’) was banned and, as a consequence of this, one of the largest archives world-wide for Kurdish literature and music was confiscated. Again and again, the Federal Ministry for Internal Affairs follows the authoritarian Kurdish policy of the Erdoğan government, while German arms exports to Turkey fuel the war against the Kurds.

The flag exhibited here comes from the Kurdish association UTA Frauenrat e.V.. Even though the association only carries out artistic and cultural activities, it has been placed under observation by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and thus lost its non-profit status in 2019.

Squared timber

In January 2019, three masked perpetrators attacked the Bremer AfD politician Frank Magnitz (‘Alternative for Germany‘- extreme right-wing party). While still in his hospital bed, he released press-photographs of his blood-soaked wound and gave interviews. In a hastily issued, dramatically embellished press release, the AfD-faction described the act as an “assassination attempt” by leftists and declared: “They beat him unconscious with a squared timber and continued to kick against his head when he was already lying on the ground.”

Following this, a nation-wide discussion about left-wing violence started. The federal government as well as politicians of all elected parties condemned the act. The AfD used the opportunity to spread animosity: “Not only Die LINKE (Germany’s socialist party), but also the SPD (Germany’s Social Democratic Party) and “the Greens“ (‘Die Grünen‘ – Germany’s ecological party) support the Antifa and their attacks.” Gauland (AfD) spoke of “hateful agitation against and exclusion of the AfD” and Andreas Kalbitz (AfD) even spoke of a “pogrom atmosphere”.

But when surveillance videos emerged, the lies of the AfD became apparent: Magnitz was in fact pushed from behind and hit his head when he fell, whereupon the attackers fled. No squared timber, no kicks, and no leftists either. Who they were, was never clarified. “We assume that all of the injuries are due solely to the fall”, the state prosecution proclaims.

Weeks later, an AfD-internal letter from Magnitz surfaced, in which he declares that he had released a photo of his head-injuries for strategic reasons, in order to “generate media attention”.

We have transmitted the 1,000 € for the fake squared timber to the Initiative in Gedenken an Laye-Alama Condé (‘Initiative in memory of Laye-Alama Condé’). The initiative is committed to promoting the commemoration and full clarification of the murder of Laya-Alama Condé in police custody. Magnitz said he passed a commemorative event of the initative on his way home.

Sketch

The present-day emblem of the ‘Antifascist Action‘ is the most frequently used symbol of the left scene and international icon of the fight against antifascism. It was designed in the 1980s by the autonomous Antifa artist Bernd Langer, who founded the cultural-political initiative Kunst und Kampf (KuK) (‘Art and Struggle’) in 1988.

Like the antifascist movement in Germany itself, the emblem can be traced back to the 1920s. It was designed in 1932 by the two Bauhaus graphic artists Max Gebhardt und Max Keilson as a commission from the KPD. The design (a red “life-saving belt” with two red flags for the SPD – German Social Party and the KPD – German Communist Party) was intended to illustrate the solidarity of both parties in the fight against fascism, the NSDAP and Hitler. However, the Social Fascism theory of the Stalinist Comintern undermined the joint struggle by simultaneously seeking to fight against the capitalist social democracy until 1935.

From the 1970s onwards, the fight against Nazism in the former FRG (‘BDR‘ – Federal Republic of Germany – ), saw the founding of many autonomous and anarchist Antifa groups, who strictly separated themselves as undogmatic from the KPD and SED (state party of the former GDR). In view of these developments, the 1932 emblem was outdated; they were missing a more contemporary symbol that would encompass all antifascist struggles. Bernd Langer represented the “New Antifascism” of the 1980s by placing autonomous and anarchist concepts (black flag) side by side with communist ideas (red flag).

Today, the emblem stands as an international icon of antifascist, anti-capitalist and also militant struggles in all their diversity. The iconic symbol has since been interpreted in countless variations.

Banner

The Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes – Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschisten (‘Association of Persecuted Persons of the Nazi Regime – Association of Antifascists (VVN-BdA‘) is Germany’s oldest antifascist organisation. In 1947 survivors of Nazi prosecution, opponents of the NS-regime and resistance fighters joined forces to form an association. The official sign of the association is the Red Angle, the NS-identification of political prisoners in concentration camps. Since its founding, the VVN-BdA has actively fought against the rehabilitation and presence of “former” Nazis in the authorities, judicial organs and politics. For 63 years, it has been committed to combating the renewed rise of neo-Nazism and, in its continuous work, has kept the warning memories of the Holocaust alive in collective memory. The educational work on right-wing structures and activities make the VVN-BdA an important political actor.

Through the Schwur von Buchenwald (‘Oath of Buchenwald‘) as an important symbol of resistance fighters, the association was already observed early on by the West German authorities due to its ideological proximity to the KPD (German Communist Party, GDR) and SED (state party of the former GDR). The ‘Adenauer decree‘ that was issued in 1950 was one of the early repressive measures against the committed antifascists.

For several years now, the VVN-BdA has been mentioned in the annual Constitutional Protection report of the Bavarian state authorities. This repressive continuity persists in the extremist classification by the authorities for the Protection of the Constitution and the withdrawal of its non-profit status in 2019 by the Berlin financial authorities. A banner entitled Fascism is not an opinion, but a crime was given as the reason for the withdrawal as an alleged infringement of the constitutionally protected freedom of opinion. Despite great criticism from Jewish associations and politicians, the state continues to insist on this reasoning.

Your display case

Are you in possession of Alexander Gauland’s stolen clothes or do you want to supplement the summer collection you started with the outfit of Hans-Georg Maaßen? Do you love graffiti battles on big canvases with the Hamburg Police? Do you want to donate a couple of cakes to the right-wing protests at the B96 and are generally of the opinion that Horst Seehofer could do with a “Black Lives matter” in front of his house in Ingolstadt?

We have reserved one display case for you! Send us photos or a video of your subversive, civil-disobedient or funny Antifascist action until the 1st October at 0 o’clock to deine-vitrine@pen.gg. With a bit of luck, you can win 1.000 € out of the German state treasury and your action-object will be shown in our exhibition!

Applications to: deine-vitrine@pen.gg

Time period: 15th August- 1st October 2020 (0 o’clock)

Participation: With the exception of Nazis, racists, sexists, homo- and transphobes, anyone can participate in our prize competition. You can apply as a group, a collective, an association, an alliance or as an individual.

Conditions of participation: The action must have taken place in Germany in the mentioned period and must be actively engaged against fascism, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia or antifeminism. Only non-violent protests and actions will be admitted for participation in the competition. The actions detailed above are only examples.

Procedure: Initially you apply with just an expressive photo or video of you action. An internal jury will then select one action out of all the submitted actions. Your object will then be shown in the exhibition Antifa – Myth and Truth at the Kunstsammlungen (art museum Chemnitz).