It was the 60th anniversary of the founding of Isráel – a fact that I learned when I wandered into the centre of Munich last night. A few people had gathered around a small stage in Karlsplatz and were dancing. Some were waving paper Israeli flags. I watched them for a few minutes and then wandered along Neuhauser Strasse to Marienplatz to find a very different gathering of people. An angry crowd had gathered in front of the town hall (Rathaus). They were chanting “Nazis aus, nazis aus, nazis aus” and shaking their fists at a small group of people standing behind barriers in front of the town hall.
Here I was in Munich – of all places – watching men and women in black shirts screaming at their protagonists. The leaders of the blackshirts hurled speeches against the crowd, and the word that seemed to appear most often in these angry speeches of the leaders was “juden”. Armed police stood between the blackshirts and the crowd. Nazis? Perhaps, The appearance of the word “tolerantz” on the t-shirt on one of the speakers did not seem to fool anyone.
The blackshirts were taking photographs and videos of people who reacted negatively to their presence. At a distance of 50m, their animosity was tangible.