A town came up with a brilliant, hilarious way to troll neo-Nazi marchers. Take note.

On Aug. 16, 2017, author and activist Cleve Jones tweeted about a small community that figured out exactly how to handle its neo-Nazi problem.

"In a small town in Germany where the Nazi leader Rudolf Hess was born, every year right wing [activists] have been showing up to commemorate his birthday," the complementing copy to his viral tweet began.

(Clarification 8/21/2017: Hess wasn't born in the town — he was buried there.)


Neo-Nazi marchers carry a sign that reads, "Rudolf Hess — Unforgotten" in 2003. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Local counter-protesters, the tweet goes on to explain, failed to do much in stopping the bigotry that gathered in Wunsiedel every November. But back in 2014, the town came up with an interesting strategy to deal with the marchers: Instead of trying to stop neo-Nazis from coming to town, why not use their presence for good?

So Wunsiedel decided to turn its unwelcome neo-Nazi event into a walkathon, of sorts.

Except they didn't actually tell the neo-Nazis about their plan.

Neo-Nazis marching in Wunsiedel in 2003. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Under the guidance of advocacy group Rechts gegen Rechts (Right Against Right), businesses and locals came together to sponsor Germany's "most involuntary walkathon," The Guardian reported.

For every meter the neo-Nazis walked in their annual march, 10 Euros went to Exit Deutschland — a European organization that fights extremism. So, in essence, neo-Nazis showed up to march against their own cause.

That wasn't the end of it, though. Walkathon organizations epically trolled the neo-Nazis while they marched, too.

Wunsiedel locals placed encouraging signs along the march route — like this one, which reads, "If only the führer knew!"

Image via Rechts gegen Rechts/YouTube.

They marked the pavement with reminders of how much money the neo-Nazis were raising against their own cause.

Image via Rechts gegen Rechts/YouTube.

They even provided food to the marchers for all their hard work walking for a good cause.

Image via Rechts gegen Rechts/YouTube.

Of course, when all was said and done, they made sure to inform the neo-Nazis of all money raised to fight back against Nazism: 10,000 Euros ($12,000).

Image via Rechts gegen Rechts/YouTube.

"10,000 Euros for the neo-Nazi opt-out initiative Exit Deutschland," a narrator explains in a video by Rechts gegen Rechts from 2014. "10,000 Euros to help right-wing extremists safely defect from the right-wing extremist scene — personally collected by right-wing extremists."

Wunsiedel's walkathon was so successful, The Huffington Post noted, other German towns with neo-Nazi problems planned similar events.  

The story of Wunsiedel's epic walkathon isn't new. But it's telling that Jones' tweet recapping the march just went viral three years after.

On Aug. 12, 2017, an alleged white supremacist plowed through a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one woman and injuring 19 others. He was one of many who descended upon Charlottesville to rally in support of a soon-to-be removed Confederate monument.

In the aftermath, President Trump defended the white supremacists and seemingly placed equal blame on "alt-left" protesters. Even more troubling: Neo-Nazi groups are raising more money and planning more rallies across the U.S., McClatchy reported.

But as the story of Wunsiedel illustrates, modern-day bigotry is nothing new. A mass gathering of white supremacists chanting racist slurs, lit torches in hand, may be a haunting scene to see in America today, but it's worth remembering that far more of us are standing on the side of love than on the side of ignorance and hate. And if we defeated the Nazis in 1945, we can do it again today.

Watch footage from the 2014 walkathon in Wunsiedel below:

More
Rice University

A plaque marking the death of a glacier comes with a haunting message to future generations.

The former Okjökull glacier in western Iceland is the first to lose its status as a glacier due to climate change. Known now as simply "Ok," the once sprawling ice sheet has melted to about seven percent of what it was a century ago and was declared no longer a glacier in 2014.

Scientists predict that in the next 200 years, if the climate crisis is not mitigated, the rest of Iceland's 400 glaciers will meet the same fate.

Next month, the land that Ok once covered will be marked with a memorial plaque. Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas, Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, and geologist Oddur Sigurðsson—who first declared the glacier's lost status—will unveil the plaque in a public ceremony on August 18.

The plaque's text begins, "A letter to the future," then reads:

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

A quarter of domestic cats have had their claws removed. Even though it might make the owners lives a little easier, the procedure can be incredibly painful for the animals and has been described as "barbaric."

Most of Europe and Canada have banned cat declawing (onychectomy), as well as several U.S. cities, but New York just became the first state to do so. Now, any vet who declaws a cat in the there will face a fine of $1,000, unless the procedure is medically necessary.

"Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops," New York GovernorAndrew Cuomo saidin a statement, per USA Today.

Some people get their cat declawed to stop their furniture and flesh from being destroyed. However, declawing a cat isn't the best way to stop a cat from scratching. In fact, it's probably the worst. "If a person has an issue with a cat scratching, well, first of all, I'd advise them don't get a cat because that is the very nature of a cat. But, secondly, there are ways to change cats' behavior. Get scratching posts. There are vinyl sheathes that could be placed on the nails," Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said. Rosenthal sponsored the bill and is a cat owner, herself. "[T]here's many ways to address that behavior." None of the ways you address the problem should include taking it's claws off.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being