HUFFINGTON POST
11/19/2014 06:09 pm ET Updated Nov 20, 2014

German Town Tricks Neo-Nazis Into Marching Against Themselves

The tiny German town of Wunsiedel has for decades seen crowds of neo-Nazis pass through its streets in annual demonstrations, but this year something was different.

While the extremists received a frigid welcome in past years, they were met with colorful banners, cheering locals and a booth of free bananas during their latest march on Nov. 15.

The new festivities were in honor of the neo-Nazis' unintentional participation in an "involuntary walkathon," The Independent explains, and were donating money to an anti-Nazi charity for every meter they marched.

When the group of about 200 perplexed neo-Nazis finally crossed the finish line, they were greeted with signs saying they'd raised 10,000 euros for charity. Those proceeds went to EXIT, a Germany-based group that works to rehabilitate extremists and helps them reenter society.

It was the activist group Recht gegen Recht (Right against Right) who came up with the idea of effectively turning the march on itself as a means of gleaning some good out of the otherwise deplorable demonstration.

Despite protests by its residents, Wunsiedel became a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis after the death of Rudolf Hess, the New York Times explains. Hitler's deputy was buried here in 1987 and although Hess's grave was removed and his bones cremated in 2011, far-right extremists continued to visit the town.

Now, with the advent of the charity march, Wunsiedel has seemingly found a solid lemons-into-lemonade solution for their neo-Nazi problem.

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