February 2020 will be a busy month for some of the extreme elements of Europe’s radical right. Multiple events are expected: marches, concerts, an election in Slovakia where a radical right party is second in the polls, in addition to the continent’s radical right fringes remembering the 75th anniversary of the last days of World War II in their own way.
On February 11, 1945, tens of thousands of Nazi German and collaborating Hungarian troops, along with a number of civilians, tried to break through the Soviet Red Army siege of Budapest. While several thousand civilians and several hundred soldiers managed to reach the Nazi German front lines away from the besieged city, the majority of attempted escapees, civilian and military, were killed or captured by the Red Army. Budapest fell to the Red Army two days later.
For Hungary’s radical right, the attempted breakout by Nazi and pro-Nazi forces has been a day to commemorate since the 1990s. And 2020 will be no different, as the radical right Légió Hungária is hosting a commemorative event and concert, “Festung Budapest” (Fortress Budapest), or the “Day of Honour” on February 8.
Légió Hungária is a relatively new radical right group, but they have already made international news for attacking and vandalizing the Aurora community centre in October 2019.
They won’t be doing it alone. Last year’s event featured several hundred members of radical right and outright neo-Nazi groups from across Europe, including Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Karpatska Sich, the Nordic Resistance Movement, Germany’s Die Rechte (“The Right”), Bulgaria’s Bulgarian National Union (BNS) and Blood and Honour (B&H) comrades from Serbia. The event featured a speech from German Die Rechte member Matthias Deyda quoting Hitler about what would happen if “our old enemy and adversary tries again to attack us.” Also attending the event was a man in a t-shirt with an image of Hitler on the front, who shouted “Juden raus!” (“Jews out”) and gave Nazi salutes.
This year promises much of the same, including a concert that will feature a number of bands with long histories in Europe’s radical right music scenes, including Germany’s FLAK, Hungary’s Fehér Vihar (“White Storm”), and Italy’s Green Arrows, who have a sponsorship deal with Ukrainian neo-Nazi clothing brand Svastone.
The week after, one of the long-time main events for the continent and especially Germany’s radical right will take place in Dresden, remembering the 1945 Allied bombing that took the lives of an estimated 25,000 people. Dresden continues to be plagued by radical right extremism – in November 2019 the city council passed a resolution declaring a “Nazi emergency” in the city, and six extremists were recently given jail sentences for being part of a Dresden-based radical right group that attacked a refugee accommodation facility.
Antifascist activists in Dresden have warned that radical right forces, for the 75th anniversary, “will make a committed effort to organize a particularly big and impressive march in Dresden in this anniversary year.”
A less well-known commemoration is taking place in southeastern Europe the weekend after. On February 22 the Bulgarian capital of Sofia will once again be home to the Lukov March.Print