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Celebrating Democracy and Taking a Stand

Celebrating Democracy and Taking a Stand

There are only ten houses in Jamel. Seven of them are self-identifying neo-Nazis and their families. The village in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania became known for right-wing extremists, such as the neo-Nazi Sven Krüger, who had to go to jail for stolen goods and unauthorized possession of weapons. Keeping silent or moving away was out of the question for the Lohmeyer couple. Instead, they launched the festival "Jamel rockt den Förster" on their property in 2007. Since then, the festival celebrates democracy and tolerance and offeres young people in the region an important alternative to the far-right mainstream. In 2015, when the couple's barn went up in flames just before the festival, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation was able to organize financial aid with a major solidarity campaign. Since its beginning, the festival has established itself as a major event, in which not only local bands but also prominent musicians perform. It has become a symbol for courage and enduring resistance to right-wing extremist ground covering strategies.

© Georg Hundt

Since the 1990s, in Rathenow and in the entire region of Havelland right-wing extremist structures were able to develop: NPD members in the district council, free comradeships, anti-antifa, right-wing extremist music groups and sports clubs. Many young people move away and the city does not offer much to young people. Neo-Nazis try to get involved here and gain sympathy among the young people. "We are fed up with the whining without nothing being done," some 16-year-olds told themselves in 2008 and got things going: the "Laut & Bunt" festival was born – with bands known regionally as well as nationally. One of the organizers: "We were overwhelmed by the response and felt confirmed to continue.” And they did. Until today the festival annually brings together youngsters and music lovers from the whole region. The twelve teens that started it all are now involved in different committees against right-wing extremism and want to inform as well as encourage other young people to become active.

Mitmachen stärkt Demokratie

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