Fit against brown lies

What to do when the "Auschwitz legend" is mentioned again in the schoolyard?? If "lies" are the only argument against the trained agitators of the far-right, you have already lost, says Markus Tiedemann. The historian educates young people about right-wing propaganda.

It is very bad to be outraged. "Then the Nazis take on the role of victims," warns Tiedemann.In a role-playing game at the Social Peace Service in Bremen, ethics expert and comprehensive school teacher Tiedemann teases 22-year-old Monique to the bone: the Hollywood flick "Schindler's List" is just as fictional as the size of the monster in Spielberg's "Jaws". And gassings had not taken place in Auschwitz at all, because Zyklon B was gaseous only from 26 degrees Celsius onwards. But it is demonstrably colder in Auschwitz. Then Tiedemann alias neo-Nazi "Horst" attacks the young woman directly and treats her like a little fool in front of the group."I'm actually open to discussion, but here I was quickly on the defensive and at my limits," says Monique, who is doing a voluntary social year in a church parish. "Was your grandpa a killer??", Horst asks even more directly and reaps a hesitant "No". "Nazis deny sources, invent or manipulate facts, attack personally and want to shine with special knowledge in order to build bridges into the bourgeois camp," Tiedemann explains.

Antidote fact "Fucking fascist" as a reaction is then just as bad as avoiding the right-wing extremist falsification of history altogether. "The uncontradicted slogan quickly gives the impression, especially to the undecided, that it cannot be refuted and is therefore true."As an antidote, Tiedemann recommends facts – and to counter every assertion, no matter how intolerable, with calmness. The historian has written a book in which he lists the 60 most frequently used right-wing lies and gives hints on how to refute them.Even if the anger rises: The reference to the body heat of the crammed, naked and struggling for air people in the gas chambers is the right answer for Auschwitz deniers. And as for Grandma: Yes, they certainly were. Provided she was not a democrat, socialist, feminist, trade unionist, communist, jazz lover, Jew, Roma, Sinti, convinced Christian, Jehovah's Witness, abstract artist, reform pedagogue, not disabled or not homosexual.And what if it's testimony against testimony? "Then I say: Let's hold on, this is a lie. And at the next group meeting I'll deliver the facts. If you react like this, you're in the clear," Tiedemann recommends to educators in schools and youth work. He is not interested in converting right-wing extremists. It is important to show neo-Nazis for what they are through arguments and facts in front of the group: incorrigible racists who are heading for the next genocide.Book reference: Markus Tiedemann, In Auschwitz nobody was gassed – 60 right-wing extremist lies and how to refute them, Mulheim an der Ruhr, new edition 2005, 18,50 Euro

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Christina Cherry
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