Neo-Nazis filmed marching with torches at Hitler’s Nuremberg rally arena

Police in Bavaria apologise for failing to stop procession

Tom Batchelor
Wednesday 27 February 2019 13:41
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Neo-Nazis march through Nuremberg holding torches

Members of a neo-Nazi group face criminal charges in Germany after staging a torch-wielding march through parts of Nuremberg used by Adolf Hitler to stage rallies in the 1930s.

Saturday's procession, which included those affiliated to the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) and Wodan's Erben Germania, began at a hostel for refugees in the Bavarian city.

Police asked the gathering to disband but the group, dressed in black and with hoods covering their heads, later re-assembled and marched towards Nuremberg's former Nazi party rally grounds holding lit torches.

Members of the group posed on the Zeppelinfeld tribune, an arena which was once adorned by a large swastika that provided seating for 200,000 Nazi faithful.

Police in Bavaria later apologised for missing chances to stop the march, saying they had "used historically sensitive sites for propaganda purposes".

Anti-fascist groups expressed outrage that the procession was able to go ahead unhindered.

Max Gnugesser-Mair, of the Nuremberg Stop the Nazi Alliance, said he was “stunned that there can once again be Nazi torchlight marches on the historic site in the former city of the Nuremberg Rallies … such events must be prevented”.

Sebastian Hansen, of Bavaria's Green Youth, has filed a criminal complaint against the rally for glorifying the Nazis.

Robert Pollack of Nuremberg’s public order office said he was also considering action against those involved.

Bavaria's Office for the Protection of the Constitution has designated Wodan's Erben Germania as a right-wing extremist group while the NPD is an ultranationalist group founded as successor to the German Reich Party.

Smaller than the better known Alternative for Germany (AfD), the NPD is only represented in regional assemblies.

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The group has threatened to carry out street patrols in areas where it claims police are not stopping crimes committed by asylum seekers.

Germany has struggled with how to preserve its Nazi-era monuments without allowing them to become meeting points for the far right.

Chief among them is the Zeppelinfeld arena, a huge complex designed by Albert Speer, Hitler’s favourite architect.

The site, one of Germany’s largest listed building complexes, is protected by law but has fallen into disrepair in recent years.

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