Germans make stand against neo-Nazi festival by buying town's entire beer supply

Justin Huggler
Festival-goers found themselves thirsty after locals took action (file photo) - E+

The inhabitants of a small town in eastern Germany made their own stand against neo-Nazis by buying up all the beer in the local supermarket.

The people of Ostritz, on the border with Poland, were unhappy their town was chosen as the venue for a neo-Nazi rock festival.

Hundreds of far-Right supporters flocked to the town from across Germany at the weekend to attend the Schild und Schwert, or Shield and Sword Festival — named to get round an official ban on using the initials SS.

But they were forced to go without beer after the townspeople bought up more than 200 crates in a coordinated action.

“It was planned a week in advance. We wanted to dry the Nazis out,” Georg Salditt, one of those behind the plan, told Bild newspaper.

The festival goers had already been banned from bringing their own beer after a local court ordered the venue be made a dry zone for safety reasons, after ruling the festival had an “aggressive nature”.

Police confiscated more than 4,000 litres of beer from far-Right supporters as they arrived, and no sales were allowed at the venue.

Thirsty festival-goers began heading into town in search of a drink, so locals decided to buy out the only supermarket’s stock of beer.

“When the Nazis heard what we are up to, they shouted obscenities at us,” said Mr Salditt, who works at a local Christian events centre.

“My impression is that the civil society protests are having an effect, the neo-Nazis see that they’re not welcome in Ostritz,” Michael Schlitt, the head of the St Marienthal International Meeting Centre, said.

The local action won praise across Germany. Spiegel magazine ran a headline of "Prost, Ostritz!" or “Cheers, Ostritz!”

“I am very impressed with the way that in such a small town the people stand up and make it clear that the far-Right is not wanted here,” Michael Kretschmer, the regional prime minister of Saxony said.

Offers of donations to cover the cost of the beer have flooded in from around Europe.  The St Marienthal centre currently has more than 100 crates left from the initiative.

But Mr Salditt and his colleagues are not concerned. They say the beer will be used up at the centre’s regular seminars.

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