A silent but strong sign

People prayed and sang, they listened to the prayers of the fathers, which were very much about tolerance and love of neighbor – and they listened when dean andreas kleefeld found very clear words in his sermon against the brown spook, which took place at the same time on the outskirts of the town: "we do not tolerate inhuman slogans in the coburg region", he said. And the 120 or so people in the packed church were happy to applaud vigorously at this point. But that's not the kind of thing you do in a place of worship. In addition, it should be on saturday also quite consciously a quiet protest, which is sent out. A silent, but nevertheless powerful symbol. And that succeeded.

The event of the right-wing extremist NPD did not take place – as originally thought – in the middle of rottenbach, but on the outskirts of the town on a parking lot near the forest. This area also belongs to the son of franz schwede, the nazi mayor of coburg and later hitler's gauleiter in pomerania. According to police estimates, about 50 people attended the meeting.

Reverend dorothea eichhofer-wunder, in her welcoming address at the ecumenical peace prayer, first addressed the criticism that had been voiced in isolated cases about the form and content of this protest event. She admitted that some had wished for a bolder confession than hiding behind thick church walls. But one should also not forget that many people were simply afraid to seek an open conflict with the right-wing extremists.

Dorothea eichhofer-wunder also reiterated that they were opposed to any form of extremism. This had led to the fact that the coburg action group against right-wing extremist activities ("cara") did not participate in the event in rottenbach – the cara members had wanted a pure protest against right-wing extremism.

"Historical responsibility"

In his sermon, dean andreas kleefeld referred to "historical responsibility one that has the coburg region. After all, the NSDAP – under the leadership of franz schwede, by the way – came to power in the city much earlier than in other german cities. Kleefeld therefore called for the "remembrance of the injustice of the third reich," according to to keep awake, and to make sure "that people from all countries, with their religious and cultural backgrounds, feel at home here, and enrich our lives with their diverse gifts." The dean also said: "the sambafestival has long made it clear that coburg wants to be a meeting place for people and cultures."

But the dean wants to achieve more than selective accents against the right-wing. He suggested that the various, often rather spontaneous initiatives, such as those that took place last year at "coburg is colorful", should be encouraged or now also at the peace prayer in rottenbach to bundle. In view of the development that the right-wing scene is trying to expand its presence in upper franconia, he envisions a union for "tolerance, democracy and human rights" in the city and district of coburg before.

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