Every year, hundreds of neo-Nazis stage a pilgrimage to the Bavarian town of Wunsiedel - the birthplace of Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess, and the town in which he was buried. Locals have been trying for years to stop the pilgrimage and march, which has often led to violent clashes (three years ago, Hess’ remains were even exhumed and removed from the town)...to no avail. So this year, the townspeople came up with an ingenious and rather amusing solution.
Local residents and businesses pledged to pay €10 to an anti-extremist foundation (EXIT-Deutschland, a charity that helps people safely escape from neo-Nazi organisations and activities) for every meter the neo-Nazis walked. They even put up garishly-colourful motivational signs - all of them really mocking the extremists - and produced road markings giving updates on the amount of money raised along the route of the march (or charity walkathon, depending on how you look at it).
When the neo-Nazis showed up, they had only two choices: quit the town and admit defeat; or save face, and march anyway. They chose the latter - damned if they do, and damned if they don’t - and thus raised more than €10,000 against themselves, i.e. for an organisation that undermines their own activities. Nazis fighting Nazism. Brilliant!
According to government figures, there are an estimated 9,600 right-wing extremists currently active in Germany. Neo-Nazis hold parliament positions in two states and have a representative in the European parliament, but the German Constitutional Court is currently considering a ban on the country's oldest far-right party, the National Democratic Party of Germany.