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Activist couple rewarded for sole resistance to neo-Nazis

The Local · 12 May 2011, 15:28

Published: 12 May 2011 15:28 GMT+02:00

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Birgit and Horst Lohmeyer are practically the only non-neo-Nazis in the village of Jamel, and have become well-known for refusing to accept the politics of, or bow to the bullying of their neighbours.

Dieter Graumann, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, presented Birgit, 52, and Horst, 54, with the award at a ceremony at Schwerin Castle on Thursday.

Graumann praised the couple, who moved from Hamburg to the village in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in 2004, for the courage they have shown in their daily struggle against the neo-Nazis who have inundated the town.

Jamel has become the centre of a troubling right-wing trend in the region.

As ever more neo-Nazis move to the town, crudely-drawn swastikas have appeared on streets signs and right-wing intimidation and violence have become more frequent.

Birgit, a writer, and Horst, a musician, were “life heroes” according to Graumann, who said their resistance to the bullying of their neo-Nazi neighbours sets an important example of civic courage.

Jamel, dubbed a “national free zone” by neo-Nazis, was an “untenable situation... and a scandal” that no one in Germany should accept, Graumann said.

In his speech, state premier Erwin Sellering, of the centre-left Social Democrats, said the couple deserved credit for making Jamel a symbol of civil courage, praising the couple's bravery to stay the course.

The Lohmeyers have hosted a rock concert on their property each year since 2007, along with a variety of cultural events to combat the extremists' ideology.

Sellering used the opportunity to demand that the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) be banned, saying that although the move would not succeed in eliminating Nazi ideology, it would be an important step in the right direction.

In her acceptance speech, Birgit Lohmeyer deplored the disenchantment with democracy currently spreading through parts of eastern Germany.

She said it was painful to see how effectively what she called, the, “terror of intimidation by the right-wing extremists” worked, particularly on young people, and how no one dares to protest.

Story continues below…

The 52-year-old prize winner said the onus was on every individual to prevent, “the Third Reich to return to German soil in less than a century.”

The Paul Spiegel Award, which carries a cash sum of €5,000, has now been awarded twice.

In 2009, Saxony police president Bernd Merbitz was the recipient for his dedication to the fight against anti-Semitism and right-wing radicalism. The prize was not awarded last year.

DAPD/The Local/adn

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:43 May 12, 2011 by EastPrussia
I want to receive a 5,000 euro award for sticking to my political beliefs too. I resist liberals and hippies every day.
23:08 May 12, 2011 by ECSNatale
The difference East Prussia, is that liberals and hippies don't wish you harm or violence. You get no prize from me.
23:20 May 12, 2011 by MfromUSA
Bravo for these two people .

They live their lives with incredible courage and actually have the type of backbone that the German government needs to acquire.

These people are true heroes.


01:05 May 13, 2011 by bernie1927
These so-called "Neo-Nazis" have absolutely nothing to do with the Nazis. They are just a bunch of hooligans and malcontents who have nothing better to do than to terrorize and annoy people. Total losers. You should rather compare them to the British soccer fans. These characters would not have lasted a day under the real Nazis. By calling them "Neo-Nazis" you somewhat legitimize them, and that is exactly what they want. No leadership, no plan, no agenda, just the desire to wreak havoc.
07:04 May 13, 2011 by neunElf
Nazi;s everywhere, run for your life!

Bernie1927 is absolutely correct in his assessment .

The facts surely ruin a sensational story.
08:16 May 13, 2011 by Kayak
I also agree with Bernie1927 but with one proviso: support for the historic Nazi movement did not come from outerspace.
08:47 May 13, 2011 by StoutViking
@bernie1927 - they got "absolutely nothing to do with the real Nazis"? Are you positive on that? Well, appart from being advocates to the National Socialist agenda, sole belief in the superiority of the Aryan race, and admiration to Adolf Hitler and his doctrine... No, absolutely nothing at all.

The only thing where they differ would probably be their lack of order and tendency to litter every place they visit with empty beer bottles and junk.

Yes, they "neo-Nazis", as in "New Nazis", or as we refer to them in my circle "Beer Nazis". They're still violent, racist thugs, just like the NSDP banner carriers were in "the good old days". They're just messy, unemployed and chronically drunk.
00:41 May 14, 2011 by neunElf
So StoutViking,, it's more about how they think instead of what they do?
02:44 May 14, 2011 by StoutViking
Every action begins with an idea. Ideas, of course, are not illegal, but some actions are. Last time I checked, littering wasn't examplary citizenship in Germany, neither is throwing molotov bottles, Sieg-Heiling or blowing your speakers with Landser and Stahlgewitter. I'll bet you your two pennies that's not all they do, just no one except sensationalist journalists is intended to probe into it.

I just wonder if those 5,000EU cover the damages to the couple's residence. From what I read, others had theirs vandalized.
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