July 16, 2024

On February 13th, 2013, more than 10,000 anti-fascist activists formed a human chain in downtown Dresden to protest against neo-Nazi marches on the 68th anniversary of the WWII bombing that destroyed the city. The demonstration marked a symbolic gesture against the right-wing extremist groups. Although thousands of participants formed a human chain, no clashes were reported with the participants of the planned parallel neo-Nazi rally. Approximately 3,000 police had been deployed earlier in the day to anticipate violent clashes between the two groups. For years, neo-Nazis attempted to stage an annual march in Dresden, but their efforts were repeatedly hindered by anti-fascist protestors, many of them city residents. This event coincided with the 68th anniversary of the bombing of the eastern German city. An estimated 25,000 civilians were killed during the air raids that destroyed the city, known as the “Venice on the Elbe.” The threat of right-wing extremism has never completely disappeared since 1945, and neo-Nazi groups are known to stage marches. There have been renewed fears of a real threat of violence from these extremists since 2011, following revelations of an underground terrorist group – the Nationalist Socialist Underground (NSU).