Organising intercultural and interreligious activities

A toolkit for local authorities


Current Affairs Committee

Sedef Cankoçak

Tel : +33 3 88 41 21 10

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Nazis against Nazis - Germany’s most involuntary charity walk

Best practice Counter-narratives

Right-wing extremism still constitutes a significant problem in Germany. The scene has more than 25,000 members - and this figure is on the rise. Once people are stuck in the marshes of right-wing extremism, it is difficult to leave again. But there are groups and organizations providing crucial assistance e.g. EXIT-Germany, which can look back on 15 years of experience in successfully helping neo-Nazis who want to leave the far-right community. However, EXIT-Germany still receives far too little attention and donations for their significant work. Many people rather donate money to larger, well-known charity organizations. Thus, the organisation is struggling with its own existence every year.

The challenge: We need to create a social buzz idea around the work of EXIT-Germany, which would reach a broad audience and incite them to donate money for the cause. However, during the past few years, EXIT-Germany gained an outstanding reputation for creative and innovative approaches in countering right-wing extremism in Germany. For example, the “Trojan T-Shirt“ campaign, in which EXIT-Germany slipped T-shirts with an imprinted neo-Nazi-logo to attendees of a right-wing rock festival. After having washed the shirt once, the logo disappeared and revealed a pertinent message: "What your T-shirt can do, you can do too - we will help you to leave right-wing extremism behind. EXIT Germany." With a total budget of only €5,000 to start with, the campaign turned out to be a huge success.

Demonstrations are a powerful tool that neo-Nazis often use in order to show their alleged strength. Under the guise and protection of freedom of speech, neo-Nazis regularly subvert their right for demonstrations and 'take over' German towns. Generally, the residents demonstrate their discontent with the unwanted visitors by counter-demonstrations or verbal attacks. However, usually these measures have no real effect on the neo-Nazis. Yet, there has been no truly effective initiative to counter neo-Nazi demonstrations.

Developing and implementing a new strategy that helps towns in their struggle against neo-Nazi demonstrations, while supporting EXIT-Germany’s work. Turning a neo-Nazi demonstration upside down: from a right-wing extremist march, into a charity walk. In Germany charity walks (or sponsored runs) are well known and a common idea to raise money for a good cause. The usual procedure is to collect a certain amount of money from sponsors prior to the event, which is then earned step-by-step by the event participants.

Consequently, we applied this procedure to our idea: For every meter the neo-Nazis marched, €10 would be donated to EXIT-Germany. This would face the neo-Nazis with a dilemma: either walk and collect for their own drop-out or abandon the demonstration.

Contact details:
Fabian Wichmann
Tel: 0177 – 2404806
EXIT-Deutschland Bundesinitiative 
Ausstiege aus dem Extremismus
Postfach 760112,
10382 Berlin