Six Protestant and Catholic bishops in the territory of the Free State of Saxony have called for a protest against right-wing extremism on 13. and 18. February in Dresden called. "Especially as Christians, we are called upon to oppose this inhuman and misanthropic ideology," reads an appeal distributed Wednesday in Dresden.
In addition to the Saxon Protestant regional bishop Jochen Bohl, signatories include Joachim Reinelt, bishop of the Dresden-Meissen diocese, the bishop of the Protestant Church of Berlin-Brandenburg- Silesian Upper Lusatia, Markus Droge, and the regional bishop of the Protestant Church of Central Germany, Ilse Junkermann, as well as the Catholic bishops Gerhard Feige (diocese of
Magdeburg) and Wolfgang Ipolt (Diocese of Gorlitz).
"In view of the series of murders by the "National Socialist Underground" (NSU) terror cell that have become known in recent months, it is particularly important this year that many people beyond the city's borders set a clearly visible sign against right-wing terror and anti-human attitudes," they continued.
Dispute over blockade attitude
There are different views among the bishops about the form of the protest. Bohl and Reinelt distance themselves from a call by the "Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Kirche und Rechtsextremismus" to block the neo-Nazi march. In contrast, 50 politicians and theologians last week called for participation in the blockades of the "Dresden Nazifrei" alliance, including Bishop Junkermann and Hanover Bishop Ralf Meister. Saxon authorities consider blockades of authorized marches a criminal offense.
A variety of nonviolent activities
The bishops' joint statement said all people are invited to "participate in the diverse nonviolent activities of churches and Christians" around Memorial Day to commemorate the destruction of Dresden in World War II.
There is also a call for participation in the human chain around the old town of Dresden on 13. February and at the rally on Schlossplatz on 18. February.
Allied bombing had left the center of Dresden and parts of its suburbs devastated on the night of 13. on 14. February 1945 had been almost completely destroyed. At least 25.000 inhabitants died. On the occasion of the Dresden war commemoration on 13. February and the weekend after, thousands of neo-Nazis march every year. This year, the right-wing scene is mobilizing its supporters primarily for 13. February, which falls on a Monday. Weekend marches by neo-Nazis to mark the anniversary had failed due to blockades in 2010 and 2011.