International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism
"Kristallnacht" commemoration November 9, 2006
in 42 European Countries!
At European level, commemorations of November 9th have taken
place since the
50th anniversary in 1988. The commemoration has taken on a new
meaning as we
remember not only the victims from 1938, but also campaign against
the rise of neo-nazism and racism in Europe today, and show support
for the recent victims of racist and fascist attacks. The UNITED
network organises each year a European-wide campaign to commemorate
the past, protest against the present and build the future. It
is the variety and creativity of many different simultaneous
activities all over Europe that make the UNITED campaign unique.
So again in 2006 the UNITED secretariat in Amsterdam coordinated
the decentralised campaign by bringing participating NGOs and
activists together by providing information and material. Like
every year around November 9, the European anti-fascist and antiracist
movement promoted the campaign to raise historical consciousness
and to make the public aware of the dangers and consequences
of prejudices, hatred, ignorance and intolerance in our contemporary
world. Every country has to deal with different problems concerning
the appearance of fascism. There is not just a single country
that can be blamed of boarding fascist tendencies. It is a pan-European
phenomenon, often enough linked throughout the continent. Denmark
for example is functioning as a sort of "distribution center"
for Nazi material for northern European countries: books, CD'
s and other extremist propaganda is produced in Denmark, and
then sent to primarily England. Or Russia, where associated nationalists
and right-wing radicals legally organised massive actions in
Moscow and some other cities.
Traditionally, commemorations in former working and concentration
camps in the Netherlands and Germany were organised. The initiative
"Elftausend Kinder", for instance, highlighted the
urgent need to recognise the group of 11.000 children of German
immigrants murdered in Ausschwitz. Other organisations arranged
torchlight processions in Denmark and Norway, concerts in Georgia
and Estonia, working groups in Slovenia, the Netherlands and
Spain, big anti-fascist demonstrations in Sweden and Czechia
and exhibitions in Uzbekistan and Germany.
The denial of the Holocaust and attacks against Jewish synagogues,
Holocaust memorials and Individuals of different minorities are
- if we are facing the brutality of the murdering of million
of people - a shame for Europe's historical memory. How can it
come that in our times people still have to suffer from the same
problems? Didn't enough mothers, children, brothers, sisters
cry because of their pain and loss? It seems that people are
forgetting the pain of the victims and murdered. It is sad to
say that we
are still confronted with fascism. And this year there were again
neo-nazi appearances in Europe, like the nationalistic marches
in Russia at 4 November!
Especially in socially and economically deprived areas, people
tend to affiliate themselves to extreme ideologies that give
them the feeling of strength and superiority. Through this, fascist
organisations have an easy chance to rehabilitate racist legislation
and National Socialist ideology.
But we should take the "Kristallnacht" as a challenge
to motivate people to commemorate the victims, take a minute's
silence and, most important, to give it further to our friends
and our environment. The "Kristallnacht" pogrom, often
seen as the symbolical beginning of the Holocaust, reminds millions
of people of injustice, inhumanity, intolerance, fascism and
antisemitism. And not just the victims - also us!
The 'Kristallnacht' Pogrom: A
In Germany on November 9th 1938, the Nazis started a pogrom against
the Jews. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, Jews were subjected
to harsh laws against them - being forced to hand over their
businesses to 'Aryans', only being allowed to shop in Jewish-owned
shops, children only allowed to go to Jewish schools etc. This
was accompanied by a wave of organised violence against Jews
in the streets and elsewhere. But, until November 9th 1938, many
of these attacks had the appearance of being unplanned by the
leadership of the Nazi Party and the govern-ment of Germany.
On November 6th, a young Jew living in Paris, Herschel Grynszpan,
received a postcard
from his father Zindel who had been deported, along with 18.000
other German Jews, on October 27th to the Polish frontier. The
postcard described the terrible conditions that the deportees
were living under. Herschel Grynszpan was so angered by what
he read that he went to the German Embassy in Paris and shot
the first German official that he saw, Ernst vom Rath, a diplomatic
assistant. Vom Rath died of his injuries on November 8th and
the news of his death reached Germany the next day. Hitler and
Goebbels were at that moment attending the NSDAP celebration
on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Hitler putsch
on 9 November 1923. Goebbels directly took up the chance to hold
a rabble-speech against Jews.
The pogrom started in Berlin on November 9th 1938, organised
unofficially by Hitler's SA storm troops. In a telegram-letter
to all SA and SS-groups, Reinhard Heydrich, leader of the SS,
clearly ordered the violence to begin. Synagogues were set on
fire. Jewish shops had their windows smashed across the country,
which gave rise to the name "Kristallnacht", which
freely translated means the Night of Broken Glass. Many Jews
were physically attacked too. More than 7000 Jewish businesses
across the country were attacked.
Fires were lit in every Jewish area and the Nazis burned religious
books. Around 200 synagogues were destroyed. The violence lasted
24 hours and 91 Jews were killed. More than 30.000 were arrested
and sent to concentration camps. Many of them were killed in
the following two months.
The 'Kristallnacht' pogrom is usually seen as the symbolic beginning
of the Holocaust. In addition to the approximately 6 million
Jews who were the targets of a complete annihilation policy,
were an estimated 5,5 million "enemies of the German state",
criminals and "a-socials", people with mental disabilities,
homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, trade unionists, political
offenders such as communists and socialists, and Roma and Sinti.
Estimates of the number of so-called "Gypsies" murdered
are between 200.000 and 1.500.000. The estimated number of homosexuals
killed in the camps varies from 10.000 to 15.000.
The word "Kristallnacht" was given to the event by
the Nazis themselves, because it mocked what had happened. German
anti-fascists today prefer to describe the pogrom as "Reichs-pogromnacht",
although in most other countries the term "Kristallnacht"
is used, as it is better known.
What Is UNITED?
UNITED for Intercultural
Action is the European network against nationalism, racism, fascism
and in support of migrants and refugees. All these issues have
a European dimension and reveal the need for a network to exchange
information and to share solidarity in the struggle for improvements.
Linked through UNITED more than 560 organisations from 49 European
countries work toegether and base their common actions and shared
activities on mutual respect and intercultural understanding.
They meet each other on European conferences, exchange information
and good practices leading to campaigning with strong local national
and European impact.
While activities of the 'International Day Against Fascism and
Antisemitism' were performed independently by the network organisations,
the Secretariat of UNITED co-ordinated the whole campaign at
the European level, provided organisations with common campaign
materials and ensured a good information flow among organisations,
and towards media and decision-makers.
UNITED is an open network inviting everybody to join the European
struggle against fascism and antisemitism. It is independent
from all political parties. If you want to get involved in our
network, discuss about the ideas and aims of UNITED within your
organisation. It would be nice if you let us know if your organisation
would like to join or receive further information.
And don't forget to add us to your mailing list!
Campaigning With UNITED
We, who work at the UNITED secretariat in Amsterdam, are often
asked how such a huge European-wide campaign as the 'International
Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism' can be coordinated by such
a small office with only a few staff members. The answer is quite
simple: UNITED is not an office, it is the European network against
nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees.
This means that once again this year, hundreds of NGOs from Sweden
to Spain, from Great-Britain to Russia organised special activities
to commemorate the 'Kristallnacht' pogrom in 1938. The participating
NGOs could make use of a strong network structure, consisting
of more than 560 organisations from 49 European countries, and
of course also the work of the secretariat staff.
This is how we do it... A European-wide campaign has to be prepared
very carefully - and this takes time. The preparation of the
campaign starts more than 6 months in advance. One of the main
principles within the UNITED network is that everyone is an expert
in his or her working field and can learn from each other. Consequently
at the UNITED conferences all the different opinions and ideas
are discussed openly in special 'Campaign Working Groups'. The
goal is to find a common slogan for the 'International Day Against
Fascism and Antisemitism' and to share experiences and discuss
ideas for common actions. Back at the secretariat, we use these
ideas to prepare a campaign poster, which includes background
information. As soon as the campaign posters are printed, communication
is needed: e-mails and phone-calls to hundreds of NGOs to motivate
them and to find out in which way they plan to join the campaign.
More than 40.000 posters are distributed to hundreds of organisations
all over the continent. NGOs order posters and present their
plans for activities. To give an overview on what is planned
all over Europe, UNITED publishes a 'List of Activities' on its
website. This way, many NGOs get inspired and can find partners
to co-operate on a higher level. Furthermore, UNITED produces
a media release and sends it to all important European press
agencies and media. By joining the campaign, even the smallest
NGO can profit from being part of a European-network since the
media's reactions to the press release are directed to local
On November 9, organisations all over Europe are active in very
different events, but take part in one common European campaign.
After November 9, the UNITED secretariat collects all the information
on the activities from NGOs from different countries. That is
why it is so important that those organisations, which participated
in the campaign, provide UNITED with flyers, pictures and articles-clips
about their activities during the 'International Day Against
Fascism and Antisemitism'. When all the information has finally
been collected, the European Report is produced and sent out
to thousands of organisations throughout Europe. This Report
is often used by NGOs to raise funds or to do media work. Again
in 2005, organisations all over Europe joined the UNITED campaign.
On behalf of the whole network, we would like to thank the participating
organisations for making such a successful campaign possible
and for their engagement. With so many motivated people and organisations,
the name of the network truly stands for its principle: UNITED
for Intercultural Action.
After the great efforts of organisations all over Europe that
took part at the 'International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism',
UNITED's campaign coordinator wrote in cooperation with engaged
contact persons the annual report. Not every organisation and
not every country could be mentioned in this report, because
we either didn't get any material or they were too late in sending
their report. Possibly some information you get here can also
just light the opinion and perception of our contact person and
you will may be as the reader say something very different. This
report doesn't claim to be a scientific work in fact this report
is created with the help, experience, interest and knowledge
of different experts and activists in the participating countries
who are often better informed about the situation in their country
than us sitting in the small office in Amsterdam. So enjoy reading
and hopefully there will be something in this report that can
give you a clearer picture of the situation in a country or inspire
you for your further important struggle against fascism and antisemitism.
Take this report as a product of our co-operating network!
In the framework of the "International Day Against Fascism
and Antisemitism" and together with UNITED, the Federation
of Youth Clubs of Armenia organised an event called "YOUth
Against Fascism". During this, FYCA carried several activities
in public places of Yerevan and Gyumri, Armenias major cities,
as well as in all state universities and institutes of Armenia.
The campaign was thoroughly enlightened by media-coverage. First
of all they adopted the resolution of the campaign: recognising
that being independent citizens of a modern democratic country
and standing in front of the integration into the global world,
confronts the Armenian society with the problem of preserving
its national soul, culture, uniqueness and values. In addition
to that, the activists stated that they have to underline the
importance of inviolability of human rights and the responsibility
for crimes committed. So they called up to unite against fascism,
irrespective of skin colour, social level, citizenship, sex,
age, title and other circumstances. Consequently, the event aimed
at raising the voice against the new wave of fascism, spread
by nationalist groups in Russia. FYCA actively encourages and
promotes within the limits of their possibilities the anti-fascist
and anti-nationalistic activities and campaigns. FYCA distributed
their press release with announcements of the activities among
the mass media and in youth newspapers. Furthermore, activists
spread material and information among NGOs and at a specially
organised "Educational Fair" among the representatives
of over 32 organisations. FYCA-members also distributed the resolution
against fascism to embassies, international organisations and
mass media with the call to be active in supporting the fight
against fascism. Three activists from FYCA gave an interview
in the morning program of a TV Station talking mostly on the
campaign. Moreover they carried out a massive action in the center
of Yerevan by distributing posters, booklets, resolution of FYCA
and other materials among the gathered young people and reporters.
The campaign in the European Regional Academy Institute of Information
and Communication Technologies in Armenia raised a real interest
among the students. As the posters attached on the walls of the
institute were quite noticeable and impressing, many students
were approaching members of FYCA with questions and requests
for more information.
A newly-elected right-wing member of the Austrian parliament
caused a political storm after saying that Nazism had "its
good side ". "Of course Nazism had its good sides,
only we don't want to see them today," Wolfgang Zanger of
formerly ruling Freedom Party said, adding that Adolf Hitler
had "given hope" to people in depressed Germany. Austria
regularly sees rows over pro-Nazi statements by politicians.
In 2005 an extreme-right senator deplored the "brutal persecution"
of Austrian Nazis after World War II, and another questioned
the existence of gas chambers to eliminate Jews. But fortunately
victims of the nazi-regime have a forum to tell people from their
experiences. In Vienna for example, there was a commemoration
for victims organised by B-Project, where ghetto survivors told
their stories. Furthermore, "Bund Sozialdemokratischer Freiheitskämpfer
und Opfer des Faschismus" arranged speeches at different
memorials and a commemoration march for victims of the fight
against Austrian fascism and neo-fascism. They raised awareness
for the victims of fascism, women and men of resistance executed
by Nazi-authorities, and the February and Spain fighters. Under
the slogan "Never Forget! Against Fascism and Antisemitism",
Cafe Critique Verein für Gesellschafts- und Kulturkritik
organised a demonstration commemorating the 9 November pogrom.
It is sad to say but the memorial
for prisoners of the Minsk ghetto was damaged few days after
the International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism November
9. Vandals splashed white paint on bronze figures along the steps
leading to the stella and painted a large Nazi swastika on the
upright pillar. Also the building of the Israeli Cultural and
Information Centre was damaged in a vandal attack. Vandals daubed
swastikas and wrote antisemitic graffiti across the front of
the house. Nevertheless there were people that kept on the struggle
against fascism in Belarus. "Stop Racism in Belarus"
carried out all action together with the "Antyfa-center".
They organised a round table to which representatives of the
various youth organisations of their region have been invited.
They discussed how to help people that suffered from fascism
during World War II. Furthermore they talked about the distribution
of information among the population of their region about the
work of their organisations. Last but not least the counteraction
to fascist and nazi-groups was reviewed. After that, the participants
visited two Jewish organisations. During one of these meetings,
they arranged a joint struggle against displays of fascism and
antisemitism. The round table was followed by a street action.
The participants distributed information material about the International
Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism, which they had received
from UNITED. Unfortunately not everything that was conceived
was managed to be finished. During the street action the Belarus
police came to the participants and forbid its realisation. Only
registered organisations have under the Belarus legislation the
right to carry out actions in the street. 'Stop Racism in Belarus'
is not registered, as they struggle for observance of human rights
in their country and thus are very uncomfortable for president
Lukashenko. All photos and video material of the participants
have been confiscated and everyone had been punished by fines
according to a law in force.
But the head of "Stop Racism in Belarus" said that
such problems only strengthen their organisation and that they
further will actively participate in all actions coordinated
The Vlaams Belang, from the extreme
right, almost obtained the control of the government of the city
of Amberes in the middle of October 2006 with a openly islamophobic
platform, with a 33.5% of the votes, in comparison with a 35%
obtained by a socialist coalition. To approach themes like political,
social and economical sustainability of different countries,
Le Monde des Possibles in Bressoux organised intercultural songs,
games and autobiographical narrations under the title "Annual
Ten years after the Dayton peace agreement, Bosnia- Herzegovina
is closely becoming part of European society with all its problems
within different ethnic groups. There are still tensions among
all ethnic groups and the latest election showed still high level
of homogenisation inside these groups.
Nansen Dialogue Centre in Banjaluka supports the citizens of
Bosnia and Herzegovina to take an active part in civil society
by promoting democratic values, human rights, peaceful conflict
resolution, tolerance and understanding. There is no visible
presence of fascist and antisemitic elements, but they have their
own "specialities" and NDC Banjaluka is there to be
an active part in promoting the human rights, minority rights
and to work on establishing the dialogue among their ethnic groups.
NDC Banjaluka has been supporting the International Day Against
Fascism and Antisemitism since 2001, and they joined this year
too. They found that this campaign can contribute breaking down
prejudices and stereotypes in the society we live in.
So they organised activities in co-operation with the Students'
Council of Banjaluka Philosophical faculty. They distributed
UNITED-materials to the students in the premises of the Banjaluka
Philosophical Faculty and posted them on their notice boards.
They believe that this campaign will also motivate other organisations
to engage themselves in future campaigns.
Volen Siderov, candidate of the extreme nationalist party Ataka,
surpassed the other rightist parties obtaining a 22% of the votes
in the first round of the Bulgarian presidential elections on
October 22. With a platform that advocated the prohibition of
the Turkish parties and persecution of the Roma minority, Siderov
participated in a second round of presidential elections against
the former socialist president, Georgi Parvanov. The forecasts
of the election outcome alarmed commentators who claimed Siderov's
gains showed Bulgaria was succumbing to nationalism and xenophobia.
He was campaigning largely on hostility to Bulgaria's substantial
ethnic and religious minorities. Many analysts agreed, saying
most of those who backed Siderov did not plump for him as a fascist
but as a figure challenging the status quo and "the system".
Only a minority of the voters opting for Siderov were hard-core
Nevertheless, there are Bulgarians that stand for diversity.
People to People International at the American University in
Bulgaria organised an anti-racism and anti-nationalism campaign
called "Opinion and Mind Have no colour" along with
AUBG's sports club and international NGOs like UNITED and FARE
- Football against Racism in Europe. The week framed movies,
round table discussions and a football game called "Griffins
against Racism". To recognise and act against racism and
discrimination, they organised different practical exercises
and discussions in a two-day workshop "Living the Diversity".
The students were stimulated to talk about cultural identity
and its effect on their perception of other people. They were
also challenged to define their own personal identity and to
discuss to what extent their social and family environment determines
their stereotypes towards other cultures. The participants also
showed their understanding of such concepts as racism, human
rights and tolerance by presenting real-life situations in which
those are often observed. In a lecture the several types of minorities
within Bulgaria were presented: Roma and Turks, Armenians and
Jews as well as new minorities comprising mostly foreigners living
in Bulgaria. It concluded with a short debate on Roma rights
in Bulgaria between the lecturer and students attending the event.
In another lecture it was explained how racism originated in
different European countries. First it was accented on how religion
was a point of differentiation in earlier times, later on, antisemitism
was discussed. Here it was pointed out that prejudice coupled
with extreme nationalism could lead to a conflict, which respectively
may lead to war.
On 12 November, Kisa - Action for Equality Support and Antiracism
- in cooperation with other human rights organisations, migrant
and refugee groups, organised the yearly well known Rainbow Festival
"Different Cultures One Roof" which is an anti-racist,
multicultural event with songs, dances, exhibitions, competitions,
games, food and many other activities from different countries
of the world. By taking into account important developments on
the issues of integration of third country nationals and anti-discrimination,
as well as the increasing interest of the various migrant and
refugee communities to become more active in the fight for their
rights, KISA is planning to broaden the scope of the Rainbow
festival by including also issues and activities related to the
integration of migrants as well as non discrimination and respect
of the dignity of migrants in Cyprus.
The Council of
Europe started an international seminar on the Holocaust in Terezin,
a WWII Nazi-controlled Jewish ghetto, with representatives of
education ministries from some 50 European countries attending.
The Czech Education Minister said that teachers should point
to the connections between fascism and skinhead actions. This
seminar was also very important in Czechia because neo-fascism
threatens the post-communist world, like ex-president Vaclav
Havel said. He also realised this in connection with the police´s
probably inappropriate crack down on a woman protesting against
a Neo-nazi demonstration on 1 May. He stated that Neo-nazi movements
do exist in the Czech Republic, are well organised and have their
To raise awareness about fascism,
Youth and Environment Europe decided to organise an "International
Evening" where young people of different nationalities came
together to speak about racism and antisemitism in their own
country. Material from UNITED was at the participants' disposal,
and international food was prepared for everybody.
In the beginning of the evening, they started to speak about
racism and fascism and everybody gave his point of view and told
something about the situation in his or her country. Then, one
of the members of the YEE made a presentation to explain the
differences between fascism, nazism, totalitarism and communism.
This presentation permitted to clarify the definitions in the
minds of the participants. Then they projected some pictures
about fascism and antisemitism, and they finished by the film
Latcho Drom, the story of the travel of the nomads from India
The participants had the opportunity to play with the music instruments
that they had brought together.
The main problem in today's Denmark
might not be fascism or antisemitism but racism and islamophobia.
Since there are no special laws against Nazism at all, Denmark
is functioning as a sort of "distribution center" for
Nazi material to all northern European countries: books, cd's
and other propaganda is produced in Denmark, then sent to primarily
the UK. To commemorate 9 November, Krystalnatinitiativet - in
cooperation with over 20 other organisations carried out manifestations,
demonstrations, marches with torches and speeches in 15 Danish
cities. This year they presented slogans such as "Yes to
equal rights - no to splitting!", "Yes to cohesion
and solidarity - no to fear and terror", "No to racism,
antisemitism and nazism!" and "Never again 'Reichsprogromnacht'!".
There are currently approximately 3,000 Jews in Estonia. Although
there is no institutionalised antisemitism in Estonia and 27
January has, since 2003, been commemorated as the Holocaust Memorial
Day, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance notes
that the manner in which the Holocaust and the Second World War
is viewed, tends to minimise the gravity of this period in history.
Fascists in Estonia are seen as heroes and liberators. Youth
Union Siin organised at Tallinn's Parliament square street protest
action against the new law about sanctioning the complete destruction
of the monument of the Bronze Soldier, commemorating those who
died fighting against fascism in Estonia or have it moved to
the outskirts of Tallinn. They also visited a former concentration
camp in Paldiski. The senior generation told youngsters about
the horrors of fascism they had to go through. Unfortunately,
Youth Union Siin couldn't organise a street action near to the
Bronze Soldier monument because the organisation has been forbidden
to hold a public meeting by Estonian Security Police Board and
so they commemorated in a very "personal" way and put
flowers to the monument.
In Paris violence broke out after a football match. Paris Saint-Germain
fans ganged up on a Hapoel Tel Aviv supporter that ended in a
"The seriousness of this event confirms the absolute necessity
of fighting racism and antisemitism among PSG fans", Betrand
Delanoe, the mayor of Paris said in a statement. Unfortunately,
tougher punishments for hooligans and repeated zero-tolerance-vows
from French Interior Minister and other politicians so far failed
to eradicate the problem.
Under the slogan "Citizens for equality" the "Federation
des Agences Internationals pour le Développement International"
arranged a meeting, posting and distribution of flyers in Paris
and claimed with this event "all citizens - equal rights
In Georgia the Stalinist repressions
and terror of 1937 affected many Jewish activists along with
the Georgian ones, but the friendly relationship of Georgian
people towards the Jewish community did not change.
Today 10 000 Jews are living
in Georgia. There are active synagogues and several Jewish organisations
in Tbilisi and other towns with compact Jewish population. The
social and economic situation of the Georgian people is rather
difficult. Still youngsters remember the historical traditions
of tolerance in Georgia and there are sometimes disputes about
it in families.
Even though there are nowadays no visible antisemitic performances
at the official level, the Jewish community as well as others
national minorities do not have influential supervising positions
at the governmental level.
The International Foundation LEA Children & Youth Department
& Council of Jewish Women & Jewish Georgian Information
Center organised a meeting devoted to the European wide campaign
on the "International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism"
and the 'Kristallnacht' pogrom commemoration. At this meeting
40 representatives of Georgian NGOs, members of the Jewish and
of other ethnic minorities came together. It was considered that
the International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism is very
important and that the lessons of history about the 'Kristallnacht'
should not be forgotten!
The opening ceremony of the new
synagogue in München, considered Europe's largest Jewish
center, marks a new time for the Jewish community in the city
after the 'Kristallnacht'-pogrom 1938.This place gives people
of Jewish believe a place to practice their religion - and for
other people the possibilities to an open dialogue.
On this date, a lot of organisations joined the International
Day against Fascism and Antisemitism. "Vereinigung der Verfolgten
des Naziregimes" contributed by organising a demonstration
at the place of a former synagogue by using the slogan "Never
again fascism, never again war - so never again Auschwitz"
and "Commemorate - be active - no tolerance for antisemitism".
In Proessneck "16. Antira/Antifa Ratschlag Thueringen"
organised workshops and activities about combating right wing
extremism with important knowledge and methods. Proessneck was
chosen on purpose. There was a neo-Nazi Meeting in April 2005
and the organisers wanted to connect all democratic forces to
exchange experiences with other activists and to set a significant
sign against right wing extremism.
Furthermore the Gesellschaft für Christlich-Jüdische
Zusammenarbeit Paderborn arranged the event "Remembering
the Pogrom" at the Jewish memorial in Paderborn.
Government crime figures show a 20 per cent increase in far-right
attacks in the first six months in 2006. During the FIFA Soccer
World Cup, which Germany hosted in June and July 2006, some 100
far-right crimes were recorded but not mentioned at that time
in the press. A survey conducted by Germany's Friedrich-Ebert
Foundation showed that 39 per cent of Germans felt that their
country was suffering a dangerous invasion of foreigners, that
18 per cent thought that Jews had too great influence and that
15 per cent wan ed the return of a 'strong leader'.
On 9 November, events were organised all over Germany. The initiative
'Eleven Thousand Children' campaigned for the remembrance of
all children that were murdered during the Holocaust. Around
11.000 children of jewish parents have been documented, who were
sent from France by train to death. Many thousands children of
German emigrants were deported by train from the rest of Europe
-like Belgium and the Netherlands. All in all around 3 million
victims rolled over the German railway system in livestock wagons.
The 'Reichsbahn' earned millions by the transports. But since
2 years the directorate of the Deutsche Bahn AG tries to forbid
public commemoration at the train stations for these children.
While in France and Poland the public presentation of these exhibitions
was supported, the successor of Reichsbahn, the actual DB, tries
to hide historical responsibility. The activists organised a
lot of protests, and manifestations took place in 16 German cities.
This initiative has reached in Germany a status of a big political
issue, so that the government and the parliament have to deal
with the case and it has reached attention in the broad public.
After picking up extra council seats across England, anti-fascist
campaigners expressed their alarm at the gains the far-right
British National Party (BNP) made.
Holocaust survivor Henry Guterman said: "The BNP has made
these gains simply by peddling racist lies which must be challenged
and exposed. "He added: "The BNP is a racist organisation
which targets Muslims and Jews and all minority communities.
These results are an insult to all those who perished under the
Nazis. The decent majority of people must support democracy and
see that this does not happen again. "One BNP member was
even brought to trial, because he described Islam as a "wicked,
vicious faith" and that Muslims were turning Britain into
a "multi-racial hell hole".
To promote anti-discrimination, cultural cohesion and anti-racism
in all forms,the Hounslow Racial Equality Council carried out
an event called "Hounslow Against Fascism and Antisemitism".
Furthermore the Racial Inclusion Project organised a Global Youth
Action Program with the slogan "Stop Fascism".
Sometimes during football matches in Hungarian arenas, bananas
have been thrown in the direction of black players. In recent
times also violent attacks have increased on black people, even
on the streets. By recognising this fact it was considered that
the job can not be left only to police and security forces Mahatma
Gandhi Human Rights Organisation used the conclusion that entertainment
can educate. They organised a match with about 50.000 spectators
of the Ferencváros football club at Nyíregyháza.
Ferencevaros is especially supported by extremist and skinhead
groups but with this campaign, many of them are piping down.
Furthermore, Mahatma Gandhi Human Rights Organisation arranged
a special football match between MTKVM FC and Budapest Honvid
Although a large part of the Irish Jewish community complains
about the increased apprehension relating primarily to the events
in the Middle East and Europe, there appears to be no perceptible
change in attitudes among the Irish population. Incidents of
antisemitism are considered to be few and at a low level, with
no evidence of systematic targeting of the Jewish community in
Ireland. Indeed, most reports relate to graffiti of an antisemitic
nature at Jewish sites and in city streets, to antisemitic undertone
or sentiments expressed in the media - such as references to
the 'huge' influence of the Jewish vote in America - and/or to
inappropriate comments in daily life such as references to 'the
rich Jews'. It is not always clear whether a specific attitude
is to be taken as antisemitic, especially in Belfast where the
flag of Palestine is used to mark the territory of the nationalistic
areas, while the Israeli flag is used to mark territory of so
called unionist areas. The question here is: is this antisemitism?
It is important to mention that institutional antisemitism was
evident when attempts to settle Jewish refugees in neutral Ireland,
during and after World War II, met with consistent government
opposition. When Ireland held its first Holocaust Memorial Day
on 26 January 2003 in Dublin City Hall, Justice Minister Michael
McDowell apologised for a policy that was inspired by "a
culture of muted antisemitism in Ireland," which discouraged
immigration by Europe's shattered Jews. He said that "at
an official level the Irish state was at best coldly polite and
behind closed doors antipathetic, hostile and unfeeling toward
the Jews." Fortunately, nowadays there are good relations
between the local police and representatives of the Jewish community.
In connection with this, it is important to mention that the
Waterford City Council -Social Inclusion Unit- distributed awareness-raising
UNITED material for the contemporary situation and commemorated
the victims of the nazi-regime in different locations for the
International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism.
In Italy numerous and disturbing manifestations of racism and
antisemitism have occurred in football stadiums. Italian authorities
have taken action to prevent such manifestations, for instance
through awareness raising initiatives or the setting up of special
units within the police, who work with supporters' organisations
to prevent criminal behaviour. Furthermore, some repressive measures
have been taken by the Ministry of the Interior and the football
authorities, including the possibility of suspending th matches
or imposing fines on sports associations. In connection with
this, the Association of Social Promotion Youth Action for Right
Development organised, for the 9th of November, the meeting "L'altra
faccia dello sport - The other face of sport" with a dinner
with nicaraguans typical food later on.
REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA
Unfortunately, developments in
Macedonia are not going in a good direction and it seems to be
the same like in other countries. One basic problem is the socio-economic
situation and the lack of opportunities to live a normal life
and to find a job. In connection to that, fascism, racism and
antisemitism have a fertile ground for increasing and organisations
like the Youth Forum - Bitola have big problems in communicating
with the people and explaining them what their aims are. It is
even more difficult to activate a large group that is not open
for an initiative. This year in Macedonia, it was also evident
that a lot of people mix the 9th of November commemoration with
the present situation in Israel and Palestine. This is especially
the case of foreign volunteers from E.U countries. The Youth
Forum - Bitola organised a poster campaign in Bitola and spread
posters in the center of the city. On November 9, they carried
out an action on the main street where they distributed to the
people stickers, postcards and posters with information about
Malta is threatened by Nazis with
so called patriots, posing as anti illegal immigration protesters.
The media in Malta have been exposing the Nazis and party's activities
for a while, but the government and the political establishment
have been a bit reluctant to react, and act properly and incisively.
There has been an official press release in May 2006, issued
by the Malta Labour Party, in which the main spokesman for Foreign
Affairs and IT strongly condemned the "attack" on the
Jewish community of Malta in the "neo-fascist media".The
same press release also condemned similar attacks on the Muslim
community and called for reason, tolerance and common sense to
prevail at a time when in Malta neo-fascism is raising. This
latest initiative of the Malta Labour Party will hopefully give
more impetus to the efforts of the police in Malta to bring the
messengers of hate to justice. Therefore, Euro-Med Movement arranged
a campaign in the Media in Malta to promote the fight against
fascism and antisemitism as apart of the international campaign.
This year former working and concentration
camps interned from the Netherlands commemorated as an annual
event the 9th of November. For instance, Kamp Amersfoort arranged
a torchlight march and film night. The Nationaal Monument Kamp
Vught organised for the first time a torchlight march for the
commemoration of November 9 in co-operation with the commemoration
center in Amersfoort and Westerbork. Kamp Westerbork contributed
to this day by giving space for a contemporary witness of the
camp, a presentation of a book for youngsters "Scherven
in de nacht" (Sherds in the night), music-theatre performance
for and with refugees, to show other people their shattering
reality and the meaning of being a refugee. A torchlight march
on the historical path that the former inmates also had to go
was arranged. Under the slogan "One Time is Six Million
Times to Much", Eindhoven Samen Tegen Racisme and Jongerenbond
arranged lessons for schools and pupils and discussion meeting
with speaker from Roma and Sinti associations Furthermore, they
organised a memorial festival with contribution of youngsters.
The Verzetsmuseum Zuid-Holland in Gouda commemorated this day
with lectures accompanied by a choir.
Polish MEP has sparked a sharp
exchange of views in the European Parliament with his comment
that Europe needs more politicians like Spanish dictator General
Franco, as deputies debated the lessons learned 70 years after
his coup in Spain.
In his speech on the subject, he praised the Spanish right wing
powers and in particular general Francisco Franco for stopping
the spread of communism to western Europe in the first half of
the 20th century.
His speech was followed by a furious outcry from the German socialist
leader. "What we have just heard is Mr Franco's ghost. It
was a fascist speech and such a statement has no place in the
European Parliament" he said, while shouting "You are
Nazi" to some protesting Polish deputies. Over the past
few months, socialist and liberal MEPs have several times criticised
Polish government members, particularly for their views and policies
on gays and lesbians.
As a positive contrast, it can be mentioned that in Torun an
elementary school promoted tolerance on the "International
Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism" for the 68th anniversary
of the 'Kristallnacht" Pogrom. Moreover, different organisations,
like the One World Association, arranged a seminar in Mogilo
concerning education about holocaust and human rights, as well
as case studies on working camps and workshops at schools.
The Polish Humanitarian Organisation organised a panel discussion
under the title "Antisemitism in Poland and attempt at a
After decades of denial about
the country's role in the Holocaust in 2004, Romania's government
took responsibility for the crimes and pledged to educate citizens
about them. "Romania needs to take responsibility for the
crimes committed 60 years agoWe don't see this in history books"
said one organiser of the protest march from Media Monitoring
Agency. 200 activists marched through Bucharest to protest against
discrimination based on race, disabilities, gender or sexual
orientation. They also commemorated victims of Nazi persecution,
with marchers stopping at the site of a monument for Holocaust
victims. The wartime pro-Nazi government, led by Marshal Ion
Antonescu, was responsible for the deaths of 280.000-380.000
Jews and more than 11.000 Roma. Miscarea Tinerilor Pentru Pace
Oradea aimed with activities of their workshops at challenging
participants' views and opinions on racism, antisemitism, xenophobia
and intolerance and at reflecting on the perceptions different
participants have of minorities.To this purpose, they organised
an interactive workshop on the theme of discrimination and racism,
and a presentation with background information about the Holocaust.
A great success can be seen in the wide variety of around 130
persons aged between 14 and 55 years. These participants were
Romanian students belonging to different ethnic groups, teachers,
mass-media delegates, NGO workers, youth workers and other local
citizens. Including a short movie on the topic of stereotypes,
discrimination and racism, the youngsters exchanged first impressions
and made good connections to what is happening nowadays in real
life. A short press conference with media was held with representatives
who were able to see the youngster in action. Furthermore, Montana
Motilor Association empowered the situation of Roma children
using the slogan "Roma children go to school, too!".
There aim was the prevention of discrimination against Roma pupils
and the improvement of their situation and education based on
democratic citizenship, by raising awareness for the feeling
of equality among the pupils. The message they want to transmit
was that a society can help minimise the disadvantages through
policies that help the ones who are less favoured instead of
transforming the differences into handicaps. Their conclusion
is that children need to enjoy the rights that are guaranteed
by the Constitution of Romania without discrimination, despite
their race, colour, sex orientation, language, religion. A new
organisation - 'Steps for Peace' - arranged a campaign in a school
near Brasov, discussing and presenting facts, showing a short
power point presentation and sharing leaflets. After presenting
the historical facts, they asked the youngsters about theirs
problems concerning racism and discussed about it.
The most important event related
to intolerance and neo-fascism in Russia is the so-called Russian
march, taking place on the 4th of November 2006.
It was an attempt of associated nationalists and right radicals
with the Movement Against Illegal Immigration at the head to
organise legal massive actions in the capital of Russia and some
The new state holiday - the 4th of November, the Day of Folk
Unity, was meant to demonstrate the unity of Russia's multi-ethnic
nation, but degenerated in 2005 into a show of ultra-nationalist
groups who marched through Moscow and other cities with swastikas
and who greeted each other with Nazi Germany's salute.
Russia, which lost around 30 million people fighting Nazi Germany
and its allies in World War II, has seen a surge in racism in
recent years. Among the slogans of the march, there were also
antisemitic pronouncements. In response to this action series
of raids were organised for pasting-up stickers, hanging out
leaflets against the Russian march in the metro, at the bus stops,
in meeting places for youngsters and as well an anti-fascism
picket on the day of the march in one of Moscow's squares.
In Saint-Petersburg, a group of 50 anti-fascists blocked the
way of the neo-nazi march which consisted of several hundred
people and took the chance to stop the march. In other Russian
regions, the actions of right-winged activists were rather smaller
and in general were stopped by the police.
It's important to say that the Youth Human Rights Group put a
lot of effort with mailing and action to win activists and to
raise awareness for the 4th of November.
In the last years, neo-Nazis have acted mostly against migrants
and blamed them for occupying Russian territories. The level
of domestic antisemitism is also very high. In some way, it is
reasoned by non-official antisemitic policies of the Soviet Union,
which continued traditions of Jews pogroms taken place in the
Russian Empire. Unfortunately, the myth about the global Zionist
plot is very strong within the general population, and especially
within elderly people.
As for crimes based on antisemitism reasons, unfortunately contaminations
of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues have become usual occurrences.
Russia's human rights advocates say they are alarmed that in
St. Petersburg three different juries in a row have this year
acquitted people charged with hate-crimes.
Dozens of foreign workers and students with foreign features
and dark complexion have been killed or wounded in racist attacks,
with many of the assailants escaping justice. It's terrible,
but actually the main source of xenophobia is state propaganda,
for example the systematical discrimination of Georgians.
Efforts in Russia are strengthened and it has to be mentioned
that UNITED published now also a Russian Version of it's campaign
posters for the 9th of November "International Day Against
Fascism and Antisemitism" and the 21th March "European-wide
Action Week Against Racism".
50 Packages with 150 posters 'Resist Against Intolerance' each
were already sent to new contacts all over Russia to spread the
thoughts of real unity
To discuss about an explanation for the phenomenon of fascism
and what is
necessary to stop the growing waves of xenophobia in Russia,
the Center of Interethnic Cooperation held a press conference
In Nis, the Center for Civil Society
Development and several other organisations addressed and talked
during a street action with fellow citizens about the 9th of
November and about fascism. Meanwhile, they also distributed
UNITED and own material. The only mosque in Nis, which was burnt
during the riots on 17th March 2004, after the riots in Kosovo,
was also visited. They met there a Muslim priest, and exchanged
with him their opinions on living together in Nis. Concerning
the situation in Serbia now, they talked about how to improve
the relations between Islam and Orthodox Christianity and the
two national identities of Muslim and the Serbian majority. Especially
Muslims are segregated and discriminated by the Serbian majority
as a revenge for the burned churches and homes of Serbians in
Kosovo by Albanians who were also Muslim. Consequently, the situation
in Serbia is a bit complicated. An important aspect is that in
the past people did not have many possibilities to go out of
Serbia and to travel or to meet other people. This atmosphere
led to the acceptance of xenophobia and nationalism as something
normal.Serbia opened itself in the last four-five years towards
the world, even though people are still against the world and
perceive that every way of different thinking creates the fear
of losing their national identity. This is for extremist groups,
on the left and on the right hand, a good ground to grow. In
2005, a group of extremists broke a peaceful meeting in Novi
Sad, but afterwards the police arrested them and sent them to
jail. It is very important that courts and police in Serbia do
not look to extreme nationalist and fascist organisations as
heritage keepers, but bring them to trial. So this action can
be seen as a worthy symbol in the atmosphere of today's Serbia.
Furthermore, it is very important to raise awareness and to develop
a positive atmosphere of living in one nation together with different
nations, religions and cultures.
For the first time in the history
of independent Slovakia, a political party has been outlawed
for its extremist ideology. The Supreme Court ordered the dissolution
of the ultra-nationalist Slovenská Pospolitos? (Slovak
Togetherness) party on the 1st March, based on a proposal filed
by the Attorney General. The party had been banned because its
program violated the universal right to vote and run for office
as protected by the Slovak constitution. The party advocates
an "estate-based" society in which only the members
of 10 selected groups would have the right to cast ballots and
be elected. Human rights activists from People against Racism
had urged Slovak officials to take action against the party,
claiming it was breaking several laws. "The ruling only
confirmed our statements about the threat that the party represents
to democratic Slovakia and the incompatibility of its program
with the constitution," People Against Racism stated. Also,
they organised an exhibition under the title "Art Against
Racism" on the 9th of November and nomination of student
works concerning racism, a performance of a Roma band and a plaque
and statue for victims of racism and extremism. In connection
to this they commemorated the murdering of a student in Slovakia.
In Madrid, hundreds of right-wing
supporters, many making stiff-armed fascist salutes and chanting
insults against gays and immigrants, gathered to mark the 31st
anniversary of the death of Spanish dictator Gen. Francisco Franco.
Since his death, dwindling numbers of supporters commemorate
his death on the Sunday closest to Nov. 20. Witnesses estimated
less than 1,000 people participating. During the meeting, attendants
heard speeches criticising the policies of the Socialist Prime
Minister, among them the legalisation of gay marriage - and against
the huge wave of immigrants into Spain in the recent years. This
event was largely ignored by Spain's mainstream political parties
and given scant coverage by the national media.
The Asociación Columbares in Murcia considered it necessary
to take part in the UNITED-campaign and to work with youngsters
of their region in order to reflect and be aware about the consequences
of prejudices and about mechanism of ethnic and racial discrimination
starting from the pupils own context.
Meanwhile, they also commemorated the 'International Day Against
Fascism and Antisemitism' and made themselves aware of the historical
knowledge connected to this date. They talked about antisemitic
politics of the Nazis, clarified some important terms like antisemitic,
religious discrimination, racial discrimination. After that,
a short selection from the movie "The Diary of Anne Frank"
by George Stevens was shown. Furthermore, they made the pupils
aware of their social responsibility and of the possibility of
being active and to participate. One starting activity aimed
at making the participants experience a situation of exclusion
by using the excuse of making up groups of 4 persons, they left
the fifth person excluded. After that, some terms like immigrant,
Roma, woman amongst others were discussed. The result of the
working group was a poster that was hung up in the hall of the
school. They also reflected about what they can do in their context
(town, school, etc) at an individual or group level, such as
passing information about active people and organisations.
Special actions have taken place
within activities of the Jewish Foundation of Ukraine on the
International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism.
Posters with quotations of famous people against nazism and antisemitism
have been shown in Lviv, Kiev, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk and
a book with the title "New Antisemitism in Ukraine"
was published in the framework of the campaign. Furthermore,
in Kiev round-table discussions about the problems of antisemitism
in contemporary Ukraine were organised.
Moreover, they were present at the opening of the memorial of
victims persecuted by Nazis in Belgorod-Dnestrovsky.
printed version (with many pictures and press clippings) of the
for Intercultural Action
European network against nationalism, racism, fascism
and in support of migrants and refugees
413, NL-1000 AK Amsterdam, Netherlands
phone +31-20-6834778, fax +31-20-6834582