Horrific German Nazi Attacks Spur #Kaltland Hashtag on Twitter


In Germany, the Twitter hashtag #Kaltland (“cold country”) has been trending for months now. The stories behind the hashtag are nightmarish accounts of daily attacks against refugees and refugee shelters in Germany.

Nazi graffiti in Hamburg-Harburg

Nazi graffiti in Hamburg-Harburg

Many people are reporting racist attacks and other incidents with the #Kaltland hashtag on Twitter. Each day people wake up and check the hashtag to find out which refugee shelter was attacked or to report a new attack.

Last week the German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation published a statement in which they wrote that there were more than 1000 attacks against refugees and refugee shelters in 2015, and with more than 100 attacks in January 2016, it looks like the number of attacks is still increasing.

#Kaltland tweet with a video that documents a nazi attack in Chemnitz on January 17, 2016:

The far right has managed to mobilise large parts of German society. While answering questions in German parliament, the federal ministry of interior admitted that more than 100,000 people participated in demonstrations that were organised by neo-nazis and the xenophobic far right Pegida movement in Germany last year. Police reports suggest that the attacks against refugees are not only being carried out by “classical” neo-nazis but also by so-called “concerned citizens”.

More than a year ago, the Pegida movement started to organise demonstrations in Dresden, and thousands of people took the streets to protest against refugees and other migrants. Many people who joined the xenophobic Pegida demonstrations marched together with known militant neo-nazis, but insisted they were not neo-nazis, just simply “concerned citizens”. The fact that they were supporting nazis and help spreading to spread racist sentiment didn’t seem to bother them.

Pegida organisers were invited to prime-time Talkshows on public tv, and politicians of the governing parties CDU (christian democrats) and SPD (social democrats) stated that “we have to take the concerns of the people seriously”. Politicians even met with the Pegida organisers to discuss their demands. The latent racist views that have always been present in German society were spoken about openly again, and by large groups of people – the atmosphere has changed. At the same time, the more extreme far-right wing of the relativly new political party AFD (Alternative for Germany) won a power struggle inside the party.

AFD leaders Petry and Storch suggested that refugees should be shot at the border if necessary (to stop them from crossing), and according to a poll last week, 29% of the people who were asked supported the suggestions of the AFD leaders. So is Germany sliding into another fascist nightmare? Yes and no. The far right is growing, and the German government is encouraging this by repressing anti-fascists, co-operating with fascist groups, and implementing one new asylum law after another. As well as the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s CDU, the CSU must be considered a far right party, and the CDU in the state of Saxony. But there are also thousands of Germans who support refugees, many of them on a daily basis.

How can the German left can politicize people who support refugees through charities or NGOs? How can we show them that in the end, charity work for refugees won’t be sufficient in stopping the xenophobic movement in Germany? As long as the left are unable to achieve this, people will have to continue to use the #Kaltland hashtag when they wake up in the morning. Its not too late yet, but time is running out…

About Author

Born near the city of Amsterdam I started filming, taking photos and writing for autonomous and other magazines in the 1980's in Amsterdam. Nowadays I write for Revolution News and several blogs in Germany. Sometimes I live in Germany, sometimes on Tenerife, Canary Islands.