German neo-Nazis march in Czech town

Nearly 500 far-right militants from the Czech Republic and Germany rallied late Saturday to mark the 64th anniversary of punishing Allied air raids on the Czech city of Usti nad Labem, near the German border.

German neo-Nazis march in Czech town
Photo: DPA

No serious incidents were seen, as police kept a close eye on the protest that critics branded a pretext for marking Monday’s birth anniversary of Nazi German dictator Adolf Hitler.

Some 1,250 police officers, including 750 riot police, were mobilised, said police colonel Oldrich Zeman, in a security operation that included the seizure of guns, knives and baseball bats.

Police said they averted possible clashes between the neo-Nazis and some 200 counter-demonstrators, mainly anarchists.

“Police will be on the alert all night,” regional police spokeswoman Jarmila Hrubesova told AFP but would not give a figure of those arrested.

Most of the participants were young people dressed in black. They began their rally with speeches in Lidice Square, named in memory of a Czech village where German forces massacred all 192 menfolk in a June 1942 atrocity.

The protest was comparable to “a dance of the assassins, on the mass grave” of the victims of Nazism, said Miroslav Broz, a member of a local group opposed to the presence of neo-Nazis in Usti nad Labem.

Two months ago, nearly 6,000 neo-Nazis paraded through nearby Dresden, across the border in eastern Germany, to mark the Allied bombing of that city on February 13-14, 1945. Police made several dozen arrests.

Historians say Allied air raids on Usti nad Labem in April 1945, within days of the end of World War II, targeted the railway station — a strategic site for the Nazis after the Dresden bombings — as well as SS barracks and the local branch of the Nazi party.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.