Symbol of Reconciliation and Far-Right Stronghold? PEGIDA, AfD, and Memory Culture in Dresden.

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Date: Spring 2021
From: German Politics and Society(Vol. 39, Issue 1)
Publisher: Berghahn Books, Inc.
Document Type: Report
Length: 9,575 words
Lexile Measure: 1750L

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Abstract :

In the eastern German city of Dresden, populist and nativist far-right groups, such as the homegrown PEGIDA and the AfD, enjoy particularly robust support among the population, even though Dresden is presented as a symbol of peace and reconciliation. Many residents base their personal and social identity on Dresden's long-established narrative as an iconic baroque city that suffered an unparalleled loss and victimization in the 1945 Allied bombings, prior to its post-reunification revival. However, this narrative includes a blind spot about the Nazi context of the destruction, opening it up to various political appropriations from the GDR era to today. I suggest that the strength of the far right in Dresden is caused by a seamless linking of Dresden's perception as a victim due to cultural losses and the far right's fear of losing a unique German identity and homeland. As examples, I analyze discourse patterns of remembrance during the bombing anniversaries in 2015 and 2020. Keywords: AfD, Allied bombings, Dresden, East Germany, far right, memory, PEGIDA, reunification

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A670225523