"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad


A Nazi Encounter

One evening we decided to enjoy a leisurely dinner at an outdoor café in the Marktplatz. This large square is usually buzzing with people enjoying a drink at the various cafes, shopping at the nearby stores, or just hanging around the steps of the fountain. On this particular evening there was a group of people by the fountain that stood out amongst the crowd: dark grungy clothes, skin covered with tattoos, head partially shaven or in dreadlocks. You know the type...

Here is the view from our table. The people I'm referring to are on the left side of the picure.

As time went by this group got larger and larger, but they were pretty quiet and kept to themselves. Then a couple of them unfurled a large banner. We got a quick glimpse of the word “NAZI” written in bold letters followed by another word in German that we didn’t recognize. This got us a bit worried as to what this gathering was all about. That was also when we began to spot police cars parked next to the various exits to the square. Then we were more nervous.

Here are the policemen that were a few feet from our table.

A few minutes later a car pulled up next to us, and two men unloaded some speakers and hooked up a microphone. The group of people by the fountain started migrating over towards the people with the speakers. Now we were right next to the action. That got me even more anxious about what was going to happen. A man stood up with the microphone and starting talking in German. Every so often he would raise his voice and the people in the crowd would answer back. Unfortunately we couldn’t understand a word.

Here is the crowd of people listening to and chiming in with the person speaking into the microphone. You can't see the person talking, but his speaker is in the far left of the picture.

When things started picking up we decided to quickly pay our bill and hightail it out of there. As we were leaving, the Father stopped a young-looking police officer by one of the exits and asked what this was about. “They’re protesting the Nazi’s. We’re just here in case the Nazi group shows up and things get out of hand.” Ohhhh…I guess it helps to know German in these circumstances. The banner actually read “NAZIS FLEE!” Still, an interesting cultural experience.

1 comment:

  1. whew, that story had me scared.

    When you said "the Father" I thought there was a priest in the story.

    love these updates.