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Reclaiming civil spaces

Reclaiming civil spaces

In the 1970s, a right-wing extremist scene was able to develop and remained very active in the district of Blumenthal in the north of Bremen. That's why the “thirteen°festival” celebrated its premiere here at the end of August 2018. The extensive cultural program and political events are the answer to further growing right-wing sentiments that become apparent not only because of the geographical location – Blumenthal is located about 23 km from the centre – the district is generally considered to be suspended. At more than 21%, unemployment is also far below the city average of 13.2%. The closure of the wool combing plant in 2008 meant that many lost their jobs. A festival appeared to the local haikultur e.V. team as a suitable way to give this structurally weak part of the city more public attention. On the other hand, it can address the residents and offer them political education. Last year's event was just the prelude to more festivals. In 2019, the former plant in Bremen-Blumenthal will again become the venue for music, readings, theatre, and political input.

Initiative „Buntes Meißen“

When right-wing extremists organized marches against the accommodation of refugees in Meissen in recent years, the initiative "Colourful Meissen" was founded as a counterweight. Quickly it was a starting point for many refugees: sponsorships, office support, and language courses were very popular. But it soon became clear: it needed a meeting place where people could come together with and without flight experience to pursue joint activities. In other cities such as Dresden, there were already community gardens and so the initiative leased an area on the outskirts. "The project was very well received," reports one of the co-founders. In large planting a meadow orchard was created, families have adopted tree sponsorships and now it blooms and sprouts on more than 20 large flower beds. Overgrown sports fields have also been exposed again and are regularly used again for volleyball and soccer matches. In addition to environmental education, other activities like cycling courses for women are on the program. Many wild corners on the site invite school classes and kindergarten groups to explore. More and more inhabitants of Meissen know the International Garden and appreciate it as a place of exchange.

Starting 2006, neo-Nazis in the Lower Saxony town of Bad Nenndorf regularly hosted symbolic demonstrations, called by them themselves "funeral marches". In a small town with about 10,000 inhabitants significant resistance was seemingly not expected and "funeral marches" were already registered until the year 2030. But immediately after the announcement of the neo-Nazi marches, the alliance "Bad Nenndorf is colourful" was founded. The motto: acting and discussing instead of looking away. Despite online threats and a stone that was thrown into the bedroom window of a board member of "Bad Nenndorf is colourful", locals were determined to stand against right-wing extremist ideology. They have been putting on a big colourful cultural festival with a serious message for many years now. With success: the "funeral marches" became more and more frustrating for participating Neo-Nazis, fewer and fewer took part from year to year - until 2016, when not a single one arrived. Today Bad Nenndorf finds support across the region and continues to organize its festival so that the neo-Nazis never get the idea of coming back.

Jahrelanges Ziel der Neonazi-Aufmärsche: das Wincklerbad in Bad Nenndorf. Foto: © Bündnis "Bad Nenndorf ist bunt"

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