Some 400 neo-Nazis were blocked from marching in Prague by a group of approximately 2,000 anti-fascist activists Nov. 10—the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Six were reported injured in clashes between the two camps. The far-right Young Nationalist Democrats (MND) received back-up from two busloads of German supporters for their march on Prague’s Jewish Quarter. Clashes broke out in front of the 13th-century Old New Synagogue—Europe’s oldest Jewish house of worship—after one of the Nazis used pepper spray against a counter-protester. Two neo-Nazis lay in a pool of blood after being beaten by a group of German anarchists. Police arrested over 40 neo-Nazis, and reported some of them carried weapons such as iron rods and explosives. Prague authorities had banned the march, and sealed off subway stations to prevent neo-Nazis from reaching the quarter.
The neighborhood also saw a mass prayer in memory of the victims of the 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom. Jews and non-Jews alike donned yellow six-pointed stars inscribed with “Jude”—the badge Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis. Several of the speakers, including 80-year-old novelist and Holocaust survivor Arnost Lustig, warned against the re-emergence of Nazism in Europe. “It is great because I remember when we went to the concentration camp, some people just crossed over to the other side of the road,” Lustig said of the turn-out to oppose the neo-Nazis.
“In the 1930s nobody in Europe took these small bands of fascists seriously and look what happened,” said Alena Hladkova, 33, who turned out for the counter-protest. “So the neo-Nazi movement might be small, but we need to show them they cannot dare desecrate the memory of the Holocaust.”