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:

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.