Friedenstag (The Day of Peace)

Today in Chemnitz, March 5th, is called Friedenstag or The Day of Peace. Here is the translated news release that tells what this day is all about:

It’s our town – Nazis have no place here

Dear citizens,

On the 5th of March, we celebrate the Day of Peace Chemnitz. It is a day worthy of remembrance and a day of commitment to democracy and tolerance.

We know that a war, unleashed by Germany, of unimaginable destructive power, which claimed at least 50 million people and caused an entire continent to fall into ruin turned on March 5, 1945 against our city.

And more than six decades of confrontation with the humanity of Nazi crimes were apparently not enough to silence the right-wing ideology of hatred and racism.

68 years later opponents of democracy and freedom want take their dangerous distortion of history to the streets. We must defend our enlightened civil society, values, and institutions from such misuse. Peaceful but adamant. Courageous and full of commitment.

The 5th of March is in our city, a day of remembrance of the victims of a terrible war. Its teaching can only be to make such an ideology never grow strong again. It is our responsibility to show that we are not racist and will not accept propaganda unchallenged – not on the 5th of March and not in our everyday lives.

The recent findings by right terrorism has shown that ignorance is dangerous and unteachable. We must stand up, watch and show presence. Where we stand up for equality, tolerance and human rights, we take away the space for hostility and racism.
Chemnitz is a cosmopolitan, tolerant and colorful city. Therefore, we call on all Chemnitz, from all parts including the City Council, the Mayor, representatives from business, labor union, Culture, Sports, Science, churches, the Jewish community, initiatives, associations and civil society actors on the 5th of March 2013, 18 clock peaceful assemble on the Neumarkt and set a clear and visible sign: It’s our town – Nazis have no place here.

Every time I have mentioned this day to someone in America, the reaction is always, “Nazis still exist?” Much like in America the Klu Klux Klan still exists, so does racism still exist here. Which is why it is so inspiring to see our city take a bold stance each year against the Nazi party. The Nazis are allowed to march and allowed to exist, which is why it is so important for Chemnitz citizens to peacefully assemble at the time each year when the Nazis march and show their intolerance for Nazi hatred in Chemnitz.

From the Freie Presse

Friedenstag also includes all of the students and teachers in the city and surrounding cities. Each school paints a banner that somehow supports the message of peace and they are displayed in the market square and we are teaching the next generation that hatred is not okay.

It’s a powerful day in Chemnitz and a day on which all Germans can be proud.

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