Stork Heinar - No to neo-Nazis – No to hate-speech

When the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) entered the first German state parliament after the elections in Saxony in 2004, German society was more or less caught off guard by this success. Elections polls had totally underestimated the votes that the neo-Nazi- party NPD finally gained.

For state-elections in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania in 2006 all election-data showed the clear possibility of a second success. In reaction to the aggressive propaganda of the NPD, fueled mainly by xenophobia, the Social Democratic Youth founded the initiative “ENDSTATION RECHTS” (“final destination right”) prior to the elections. They focused on an anti- NPD-campaign, dealing with slogans and ideology of the neo-Nazi-party and delivering facts about the candidates.

The history is known: The NPD entered its second state parliament with a result of 7.3 percent or a total of 59.000 votes. Subsequent to the electoral success of the neo-Nazi- party, ENDSTATION RECHTS was transformed into an online-news portal with almost daily coverage of the NPD in particular, and racism and right-wing radicalism in general. Since then ENDSTATION RECHTS. has become one of the leading publications on the political far right in Germany with over 100.000 views per month.

While ENDSTATION-RECHTS. focuses on facts about the political far right, its side project Stork Heinar (German “Storch Heinar”) uses a completely different approach. Stork Heinar was born in 2008 as a reaction to the ongoing success of the clothing company “Thor Steinar”, which was (and is) very popular within the group of right-wing-extremists. “Thor Steinar” plays with Nordic mythology as well as the name of SS-general Fritz Steiner (“Division Thor Steinar”). By now the clothing brand is an identification mark of neo-Nazis.

Stork Heinar started as a parody on Nazi ideology. The stork calls himself “Fuhrerstork” and wants to be the “Greatest Fashion Designer of all Times” (GröMaZ), analogue to Hitler wanting to be the “Greatest Commander of all times”. Stupidity of NPD propaganda is used to make fun of neo-Nazis – a concept, which the racist and radical right have struggled to cope with for a long time. In the ongoing fight against neo-Nazism and racism irony seems to be one of the sharpest swords one can lead into battle.

On Facebook Stork Heinar reaches a regular audience of 87.000 people – and growing. Stork Heinar gains support from (democratic) social movements of all kind. Using irony, the stork has established itself as a stereotype figure in the fight against neo-Nazis. Meanwhile, a man high costume of the stork accompanied by a pseudo-militarily costumed brass-band brings actions against neo-Nazis to the streets, playing march music with fun texts.

ENDSTATION RECHTS. and Storch Heinar are actively supporting school-projects for democracy and against xenophobia and racism. Though being limited to Mecklenburg-West Pomerania due to the voluntarily character of the project and our dependence on donations, there would be sufficient requests for appearances of the stork in whole Germany to employ a full-time puppet-player.

The fight against xenophobia and Nazi tendencies in today´s society necessitates ongoing efforts on behalf of civil society as well as of political players. Ideas know no borders and are, especially in times of the Internet, a global phenomenon. This applies for the ideas of democracy and tolerance as well as for any kind of hate, xenophobia, and neo-Nazism. Thus the main goal of ENDSTATION RECHTS. and Stork Heinar is to empower society to be resistant against right-wing-propaganda and encourage as many people as possible to defend our democratic values actively. Facts mixed with irony seem to be a good way to succeed on that path.

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Visit our support page (German) to see how you can support or participate in this project.