Chemnitz late summer 2018. Through the streets of the East German city, right-wing nationalists march side by side with neo-Nazis healing and raging against foreigners. The demonstrations, after asylum seekers stabbed a local man during a town party, develop violently several times. The images of a healing crowd travel the world, shocking Germany.
Chemnitz autumn 2020. A mighty fireworks light up in the dark sky over the city, which in the GDR era took a name change to Karl-Marx-Stadt and is still famous for housing a giant statue of just the communist thinker. Chemnitz has been elected European Capital of Culture in 2025, and now the ugly images from the unrest two years earlier can finally be displaced, according to the city’s politicians.
“That appointment gives Chemnitz a great chance to give and receive much and to show much of what has not been seen so far,” said the jubilant happy mayor of the city, Barbara Ludwig, at the time.
Chemnitz January 2021. How did it happen that a city notorious for its neo-Nazi football supporters, its strong right-wing radical scene and the demonstrations it organized two years earlier could become the cultural capital in front of a number of fine German cultural cities? Could it be due to personal ties between Chemnitz and the committee that gives European cities the prestigious title of honor?
To resolve this issue and possibly reverse the decision to make Chemnitz the Capital of Culture, the Ministers of Culture of all German Länder will meet virtually with the chair of the selection committee, Sylvia Amann from Austria.
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