Refugee crisis

Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1

Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1
Die Ärzte singer and drummer Bela B. with a DVD titled "not interested in Nazis" in 2009. Photo: DPA
Under the banner of "Arsehole Action", activists campaigning against xenophobia and hatred of refugees have pushed a 1993 hit by punk band Die Ärzte mocking the far right to the top of Germany's charts.

“You're really thick as pigshit
That's why you feel fine
Hate is your attitude
Your blood is always boiling”

That's how punk legends Die Ärzte opened “Schrei Nach Liebe” (Cry Out For Love), their 1993 hit that would go on to become an anthem in the German anti-fascist movement.

Its chorus about their imagined Nazi's psychological issues – “Your violence is a cry for love, your combat boots long for tenderness” – builds up to the one-word gut-punch of “arsehole” and has been a staple of left-wing activists ever since.

“Unfortunately, since the 90s the song has never been so relevant as now. History is repeating itself, and we should stop it,” a group calling itself “Aktion Arschloch” (Arsehole Action) posted on September 1st.

Their campaign has pushed the song to number one in the singles charts, a week after it beat out mainstream club hits in the iTunes charts and 22 years after its fist release.

“Success of this kind is unprecedented in German chart history,” said Mathias Giloth, who runs GfK Entertainment, which publishes Germany's official music charts.

Austrians and Swiss have also backed the campaign, sending the song to Number 1 in Austria and Number 2 in Switzerland, Gfk Entertainment added.

“Die Ärzte think it's good and important that positions are being taken on the radio. This would be a cool action with any other anti-Nazi song. But of course we're happy to support it if it must be our song,” the band wrote in a statement on their website.

Meanwhile, the song hit number one in the iTunes singles chart on Thursday, prompting the organizers to announce that “the action has hit like a bomb!”.

They called on supporters to ask music sellers to donate their share of the profits from the sales and to petition Die Ärzte to re-release the single on CD.

And while the band were happy to see the song hit number one on the iTunes singles chart on Thursday, all their share proceeds will be going to refugee aid organization Pro Asyl.

“We wish all Nazis and their sympathisers a bad time,” they said.

Along with 20 other well-known German bands including Beatsteaks, Deichkind and Die Toten Hosen, Die Ärzte will be in Berlin on Friday morning to sign their names to a call to action against far-right attacks on refugees in Germany.

There have been increasing numbers of far-right attacks on refugees in Germany as numbers fleeing to Europe from conflict zones in Africa and the Middle East increase.

Last month the German government announced that it expects up to 800,000 asylum applications in 2015.

But large numbers of ordinary Germans have also joined in grass-roots movements to help the desperate people arriving in the country, while Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned racism and xenophobia in a press conference on Monday.

SEE ALSO: Five ways you can help refugees in Germany