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How A German City Found An Absolutely Genius Way Of Handling Neo-Nazis

The program's so successful, other communities hassled by neo-Nazis have emulated it.

08/17/2017 05:17 EDT | Updated 08/17/2017 05:17 EDT

What do you do when neo-Nazis keep flooding your town? 

One German city was faced with exactly that problem. 

A viral post on Twitter from Cleve Jones shares the story of Wunsiedel in northeast Bavaria, which has been a neo-Nazi destination since it was once home to the grave of Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess

But in 2014, sponsors agreed to donate money for each step marched by the neo-Nazis, with the cash going to programs that fight Nazis, the Guardian reported at the time. 

It was billed as Germany’s most involuntary walkathon. 

Instead of greeting the group with protests, they put up banners welcoming them to the “Nazis Against Nazis” walkathon, according to a video on a YouTube channel run by the organization that promoted it. 

Mocking signs throughout the route encouraged them to keep walking to raise more money, and organizers put out a table of bananas to help them keep up their energy so they could keep walking ― and keep raising money. 

They even painted numbers in the ground so the neo-Nazi marchers would be forced to see how much money they’d collected at every milestone.

And at the end, they passed out certificates reminding them of how much many they raised to fight Nazis: 10,000 euros, or close to $12,000, going to EXIT Deutschland, a group that helps neo-Nazis to defect from the movement. 

A report on the event by Britain’s SOFII Foundation found that it was so successful other communities began emulating it. 

“The campaign inspired other cities in Germany and other countries to have a new, creative and amusing way of handling the problem of Nazi-walks,” the organization said. 

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