Finding PEGIDA

JLH has translated a series of articles and opinion pieces about PEGIDA (Patriotische Europäer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West), the anti-Islamization movement whose meteoric rise over the past two months has earned it daily headlines in the German news media.

The translator includes his own commentary in italicized blocks interpolated within the text below.

Finding PEGIDA

This project began when I finally began to ask myself, “Why is this happening in Dresden? Why is it so much more successful than even the most successful HoGeSa demos in former West Germany? Why are its western spinoffs not as fabulously successful as those in Dresden? What foreseen and unforeseen weapons will its opponents bring to bear?”

The answer is complex and perhaps not entirely satisfactory. There is an element of magic in the Dresden demonstrations. Magic, however, can be transformative, or chimerical. Or both. So this is an inquiry into the elements that comprise — as the old film title said — “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

First, two quick notes from ZUERST — a steadily right-leaning blog — to set the stage.

1. PEGIDA Demonstration: 17,500 Participants on the Streets of Dresden

December 23, 2014

Dresden. Police estimated the tenth PEGIDA demonstration at 17,500 people.

So the organizers achieved another increase over their last number of 15,000. The head of PEGIDA, Lutz Bachmann, declared a hiatus for next Monday. The next demonstration is set for January 5th — one day before Epiphany. The group will announce time and place on Facebook.

2. Battling the PEGIDA Organizers: ANTIFA Targets the Right Name and the Wrong Man

December 22, 2014

On January 12th, PEGIDA intends to demonstrate for the first time in Leipzig. The left-extremist group ANTIFA has committed a major error in its battle against one of the organizers who is located there.

A man named Silvio R. was briefly mentioned on the leftist extreme internet portal “Indymedia” as the presumed leader of the LEGIDA demonstration. Thereupon, his house in the city’s Connewitz district was hit by a paint bomb; front door and mailbox smeared with tar. This “R.” was not the alleged organizer — just someone with the same name. In fact, someone with leftist sympathies: “I am absolutely the wrong guy,” he said to the Leipzig Internet Newspaper, and pointed out that he is in regular contact with the left-alternative scene in his district. This was confirmed by a local legislator of the Left party, Juliane Nagel. “He is not part of LEGIDA,” said the politician.

That was a preview of the Good and the Ugly. Now for a look at the Bad. How much will the leader’s past haunt him and the movement? Is he what seems to be, or what he once was? Is he a rascal in disguise or a redeemed sinner? Elmer Gantry or Paul on the road to Damascus? A mildly but palpably hostile review from This article refers throughout to “Pegida” rather than PEGIDA, and I have “normalized” it.

3. Trained Cook With Criminal Past: Lutz Bachmann Is the Leader of PEGIDA

December 16, 2014
(German Press Agency, French Press Agency)

[Photo caption: PEGIDA founder Lutz Bachmann acts middle class. He says he is not a racist. (source: Reuters)]

On Monday, 15,000 people followed the call of PEGIDA. More than ever before. Criticism from established political parties seems to have garnered the anti-Islam movement and its initiator more rather than fewer supporters. Who is the man who weekly draws thousands of demonstrators to the streets? Details about the trained chef — including his criminal past — have come to light gradually. Bachmann is now attempting to present them in the framework of PEGIDA.

“Yes, I was convicted. Yes, I tried to escape legal punishment 17 years ago,” wrote the PEGIDA founder on his Facebook page, at the beginning of December. After his true name and passport surfaced in South Africa, where he had fled, he was deported. “That country really deports quickly and un-bureaucratically and suffers no indulgences or rights of residence,” he said of that country.

South Africa as a Model

The 41-year-old would like the same procedure here at home. At the PEGIDA demonstrations, the convict Bachmann fulminates against criminally liable immigrants and strongly advocates a zero-tolerance-policy.

By his own account, the baccalaureate-holding, trained chef founded his own small photo and ad agency. After that, he came into conflict with the law several times. As researched by various media, Bachmann carried out break-ins at a total of 16 businesses in and around Dresden, was sentenced to three years in prison, and escaped to South Africa before the onset of his sentence.

After deportation from South Africa and finally serving his sentence, he was caught with cocaine several times. According to information discovered by TAGESSCHAU, he is still in trouble with the law because of support payments for his son.

Getting to Like the Spotlight

According to Bachmann, the investigations of the organization by what they disparage as “the lying press” have not changed their goals. “There could be a personnel change” he wrote on Facebook. Meanwhile, however, the large 41-year-old seems to like the spotlight. On Monday, he was at the speaker’s lectern again.

In the twelve-person organizational team, Bachmann has two colleagues who — according to research by SPIEGEL — are known to the police. One member of the leadership is registered with the Dresden police under “general criminality (including crimes of violence) ”. Another has been suspected of fraud.

When they shout “Fewer Islamists!” they mean “More Germany!”

Right Extremist Hooligans At the March

According to SPIEGEL, police identified members of the hooligan groups “Fist of the East” and “Hooligans of Florence on the Elbe” at the marches. According to that report, several hundred demonstrators had connections to the soccer fans of Dynamo Dresden. 250 of them are so-called problem fans. It is also said that there are connections to Hooligans Against Salafists (HoGeSa).

To all that, Bachmann declares he is not a racist. “I had a Turkish best man, and I have a lot of Muslim friends,” he says, acting very middle class. His Facebook pictures of his wedding and walks by the water bear this out.

It looks different now and then on his Twitter profile. Among other things, you can read: “These eco-terrorists ought to be shot! Above all Claudia Fatima Roth!” He has apologized for that tweet, but not deleted it.

Now a view from the center of the journalistic universe in Germany — the most respected MSM newspaper, The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung or FAZ. This treatment of the Dresden PEGIDA demonstrations seeks the answer in Dresden — the “Florence on the Elbe” apocalyptically destroyed by Allied air action.

With a notable lack of sympathy, it emphasizes the eccentric character of Dresden — as only a “disinterested” Wessi or a disaffected Ossi can. Not only is the old glory gone, but what is new is ghastly, and the residents are too dense to see it. This article in the paragon of MSM journalism in Germany is a remarkable exercise in regional bias, to say nothing of sloppy thinking and stylistic stumbles. Think “redneck” jokes.

What humor there is reminds us of Gandhi’s aphorism: “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.”

4. PEGIDA Demonstration: What’s Wrong With Dresden?

Peter Carstens
December 22, 2014

Dresden likes being different from the rest of the world. There are particular reasons why the PEGIDA demonstrations are so popular there. This is an attempt to track them.

On this Monday, instead of shouting mottos, the PEGIDAs want to sing German Christmas carols — “Alle Jahre wieder,” “Stille Nacht,” Oh Du Fröhliche.” They want to sing in opposition to the “Islamization of the West.” The demonstrations of these German chauvinists, intended to do battle against foreigners, the authorities and the press, are admired across the country, and yet they are a Dresden phenomenon. A closer look is needed.

Few people are making that effort. SPD politicians speak of “racists and nationalists,” “rabble-rousing and slander.” Minister of Justice Heiko Maas called the demonstrations a “disgrace for Germany.” PEGIDA is a huge success. Last time, 15,000 demonstrators came. But only in Dresden. Elsewhere the aggressive Westerners manage at most 400 old folks. So we should not be asking, What is wrong with Germany? At most, we should be asking, What is wrong with Dresden?

If you had come to the gathering point this week on the field by the Dresden Hygienics Museum, you would have been reminded of a gathering of Saxon craftsmen. Mostly middle-aged men, sturdy types, dressed in outdoor jackets and solid shoes — dressed for all the tasks in construction. Here and there a few older men, all kinds of women, few young people. Then, before their eyes, the former Dresden small-time crook who organizes these demonstrations positions his sausage stand podium. From here, for weeks, Lutz Bachmann has been hurling platitudes about the foreign infiltration of his bratwurst universe. The man was a serial break-in artist and drug courier.

None of the listeners seem to be bothered by that. For Bachmann is a Dresdener. Born and bred. Son of a butcher. Not a Muslim and not an incoming Wessi. He and his co-speakers shout out things like “We want to preserve our identity, our customs, our traditions!” and anyone who doesn’t agree is “out of place here in Germany.” But the immigrants are not as out of place here as some of the Dresdeners.

At least since the end of WWII, they have been following their own path. Amid the remains of devastated splendor and dismal new edifices, they have maintained the belief that they are living in the most beautiful city in the world. That was easier during the GDR age, when Florence or Paris were known only by word-of-mouth. For a long time, Dresden was without Western television — a city of books and music, which resisted being deceived by the official GDR broadcasts. Anyone who was deceived anyway is now likely to shout “lying press” because he despises reality.

Even now Dresdeners believe nothing is more beautiful than their city. Citizens of Cologne believe that too, but you are allowed to disagree with them.

The view down the banks of the Elbe surrounded by a green riverside landscape is wonderful. There is now a new, ugly bridge here. Most of the Dresdeners wanted it that way. When their status as a World Heritage cultural site was threatened if this concrete creation was built, they became agitated at these cultural aliens, and proudly lived on without the distinction. A comparatively rare incident. There was a similar disagreement in Cologne. But there they chose not to disgrace themselves in front of the entire world. The Dresdeners actually enjoyed it.

Not much was left of the old glory after the Allied air attacks of February 1945. The ruins of the Frauenkirche, remains of several palaces and museums, and outer districts like Striesen, Blasewitz or Weißer Hirsch. Many people believed to the last minute that the bombers would spare their “Florence on the Elbe,” because it was so beautiful, or at least because an aunt, or cousin or some other relative of Churchill lived there. Wrong. In February 1945, Dresden was destroyed.

Dresden as the Symbol of Random Air War

After that, it became the national sacrifice city. Symbol of a random air war against civilians and civilization. There were said to have been nearly 100,000 dead. Maybe more. When a commission of experts reviewed the numbers a few years ago, it arrived at different numbers. Still terrible, but 25,000 — much fewer than the original legendary estimate. Outside of that, many Dresdeners believed that Allied fighter jets in February 1945 had strafed people running away. The West German teacher and historian, Helmut Schnatz, refuted this as legend on the basis of technical evidence. There were enraged protests against him and the laws of physics. In Dresden, facts are sometimes less important than feelings. That is the only reason people in Dresden can demonstrate against “economic refugees” although there are hardly any foreigners in Dresden. Well, some could come… So there!

Dresden’s playing the victim eased their own guilt — connected with persecution of Dresden’s Jews. The local NSDAP gauleiter Martin Mutschmann was one of the worst anti-Semites in the Reich. Dresden had trouble recognizing that. They were after all just victims.

In his novel “The Tower,” Uwe Tellkamp described sensitively how a small group of citizens at the White Stag in GDR times resisted the gradual disintegration of their values and also, of course, their physical plant. They created their own world. It existed as a special spiritual place, at that time, alongside Socialism, and now as a parallel to a nation of economy, soccer and immigration.

(It is interesting to compare the statement in this article — “there are hardly any foreigners in Dresden” — to a TAGESSPIEGEL interview with “SPD politician Petra Köpping who has just visited the Dresden Muslim community: ‘Our Muslims are afraid,’ she says and needs to say no more. The threat is there. It is not easy for Muslims in Saxony.” It makes you wonder what the number of immigrants here really is, and if the impact is proportional.)

Another FAZ article devotes a long and quasi-philosophical discussion to the definition of stupidity and why stupid people are the only group we can still make fun of. Then it concludes by saying that the PEGIDA people don’t ALL say stupid things. But most of them do. And it gives a few selected quotes. So much for the MSM.

Finally — on December 19th — a short, positive comment from Politically Correct interprets some of the same facts from a different perspective.

5.Success of PEGIDA — Why Dresden, of All Places?

by Götz Kubitschek
December 19, 2014

Approximately 20,000 citizens are expected Monday on Theater Square in Dresden [final count – 17,500], who will once again demonstrate under the name PEGIDA against abuse of asylum, Islamization and the war against our cities. They will once again remain peaceful and not be impressed by blockades and counter-demonstrations. Why is something like this succeeding in Dresden? Why not in Hannover or Mannheim or Cologne? Dresden is in Saxony. Saxony is different, and in Saxony, Dresden is something like the essence. Three reasons for that:

  • Saxony is a proud federal state. After the “turning,” it chose the status of free state. It is not a “hyphenated” state, but an entity clearly defined by common traditional roots and a strong self-identification. It can point to a proud history and outstanding personalities — and was historically a power center of the German empire.
  • Possibly nowhere in the “new states” is the feeling of having been treated unjustly by recent history greater than in Saxony. Granted: In Saxony-Anhalt and Mecklenburg too, there is resentment at having been left behind because of the stagnation in the GDR . But this dissatisfaction is often expressed as cursing and moaning and in despairing resignation. The Saxons, on the other hand, are toiling meter-by-meter toward their old greatness and would not care to be dependent on transfer payments nor on the typical western models. They are stubborn and tough.
  • Within Saxony, Dresden is the “courtly” core: proud, courteous, self-confident and deeply middle-class. People here don’t like experiments. And PEGIDA is anything but an experiment. Its development was classic. It began small, took a middle-class form (“a walk”); there were the early counter reactions; it stubbornly held on to the idea and completely ignored the schoolmasters sent from the West and from a great height.

If you walk along with the demonstrations and talk to the people, you get two impressions. First, there is a lot of laughing about recent political phrases. “Taking the fears of people seriously” or “Simple answers to difficult questions” have no weight for someone who is taking to the street determined and self-confident. Second, people cannot calmly anticipate that there could be a “broad coalition” against PEGIDA in the shape of students released from their classes to attend a counter-demonstration.

There you have an — admittedly subjective and unprofessional — survey of opinions. Take your pick or weigh them all against each other. The one point of view not covered here is that of the people who began the movement of Monday Demonstrations and built up the internal pressure that helped to create the Wende — the turning. I know only one, and he does not believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Specifically, he — and I suspect some of his old comrades — do not like the appropriation of the motto: “Wir sind das Volk!” because, as he puts it, “We WERE the people” and they were standing up against one of the most repressive regimes in the world.

I have to respect that. It was a unique time in history and a unique achievement following in the spirit of Martin Luther King and Gandhi. But, as some have noted, the former GDR lands now are different. They have not had such long exposure to the advantages of the social cushioning available in the West. And some of them may still see clearly what is obscured for many in the West. If we in the minority are correct and there is a creeping totalitarianism across the West, both nationally and supra-nationally, we need a place and an ambience that will welcome our resistance. I cannot decide the ticklish question of “Wir sind das Volk” but I can recognize that the spirit underlying the PEGIDA demonstrations until now has its inspiration in the actions of the “89ers.” For better or worse, this may be the most fertile ground for resistance.

15 thoughts on “Finding PEGIDA

  1. Oh Dear Lord let this happen in UK! This is what I have been praying for!
    As for the Antifas- the majority are imported troublemakers from outside Germany.

  2. Hello JLH, thank you for monitoring the press and translating these articles.
    You write of “the people who began the movement of Monday Demonstrations and built up the internal pressure that helped to create the Wende — the turning.”
    Could you please take a few sentences to describe what this “turning” is? Did this turning take place recently?

    • “Die Wende” refers to what went on in Dresden and all of the GDR in 1989, i.e. the turning towards democracy.

  3. I have never seen an Ad Hominem attack on a whole city before!

    The left has a ritual approach to criticism; and here we see it aptly demonstrated, don’t deal with the substance but attack he who voices it, now it gets a bit difficult when there are 17,500 of them (and counting).

    For the first time in its short history, cultural Marxism is under sustained attack, the media cannot ignore 17,500 voices, but they can try to dance and wriggle, to twist and shout, and hope to shame.

    So one tries to make it a “storm in a teacup”, the other points to the huffing and puffing of a ‘big bad Wolfie’. The other tries a media ‘blitz’ on the whole city, of course there are difficulties estimating the casualties of the bombing, and I would suspect that the higher estimate did not come from the Dresdeners themselves.

    To bring in the idea that all Dresdeners are Anti-Semitic because one Nazi from Dresden was an anti-Semite is Puerile, but again, this is straight out of the leftist rule book, were Marx and Engels not anti-Semites? does that not make every person of the left an anti-Semite by the same implication.

    Media panic? or just incoherent and implacable hatred?

    • The Collective is just gearing up for the real fight. First, use a little dirt to expose your enemies as criminals and if that doesn’t succeed, label the supporters of your enemies as criminals by association.

      And that is just stage one.

      The campaign against PEGIDA will become much dirtier and probably tend to violence from now on.

      History proves to anyone who has bothered to learn it, that the rabid Leftist Collective knows how to play dirty and violent when it comes to keeping what they have stealthily gained and wish to obtain.

  4. For Mark Spahn–The Wende was the gradual, visible and often ridiculed turning of some key players in the government and even literature when they saw the handwriting on the wall and tried to appease the public by statements and gestures, even overt actions, that moved in the direction of less repression and more freedom. These people were referred to as Wendehaelse. Wende means turn and Hals means Neck, but put together, they are the name of a species of woodpecker–the Wryneck in English–whose name comes from its habit of twisting its neck to get at the food it is pecking out of the tree. So the political “turning” also created the “wrynecks” who twisted themselves out of shape to stay in power.

  5. Not really important in the context, but I liked the simple new bridge over the Elbe, even if it doesn’t match the historic buildings, which are largely a reconstruction.

  6. Defining Islam correctly, as a Death Cult, first, is vital.

    Then the opposition to it will be more reasonable to the mainstream mind.

    Returning the Muslim colonizers of imperialistic Islam back to “Islamic lands” is essential to the security and survival of the West.

    The most benign method is the best to use for those “Submitters” already in infidel lands. Bribes, pressure to conform, legal enforcement of obscure immigration and refugee rules, etc., etc.,

    While exterminating violent jihadis in battle everywhere that they wreak Islamic Terror.

    The lesson of our ruthless annihilation of armed theocratic crazies will motivate the faithful Muslims -who sympathize with the Jihad- to leave the West in disgust and to enjoy Sharia Law personally.

    Any “moderate” Muslims who remain will have to be monitored, since taqiyya (sanctified deceit) has erased any possibility of trusting a declared follower of a terrorist warlord, no matter what they claim.

    Primarily, because there is no “moderate” Islam.

    Although there may be weak adherents to Mohammad -who like the ethnic aesthetic of Islam, but not its rigorous enforcement- the Koran is inescapably fatal if taken literally.

    It must be debunked and dumped into history’s dogmatic dustbin.

    Till then, we die.

    And fight.

  7. Germany needs to separate back into it’s free states. This will be awesome. [Perform an anatomical act on] the left, muslims, and cosmopolitan modernists.

  8. Thank you for your research!

    Just a thought that it evoked in me: Germany’s (and Europe’s) problem is not too much Islam but too little Christianity. For about a thousand years (in southern Europe even longer), Christianity was the air that Europeans breathed. Now it has been almost eliminated and left a great void behind it. Nature abhors void, so it sucks in Islam and other, sometimes worse, things (woodoo, scientology, satanism – you name it).

    Of course, Germans should do something to fight off the creeping islamisation of their lands, but the most important thing is to go back to their Christian roots, for without Christianity German civilisation will die anyway. PEGIDA seems to be moving in the right direction. It may be putting too much emphasis of combating Islam, but it also insists on Germany’s Christian character. Therefore, I wish PEGIDA success with all my heart.

    The official leaders of the Lutheran Church in Germany, on the contrary, seem to have lost the ability to understand what’s happening to their world. Not because they are too otherworldly, but because they are steeped in the spirit of this world – the spirit of left-wing liberalism which is hostile to Christian faith. They, in fact, have betrayed not just their country, but their God.

  9. I feel that the political class is very concerned, hence the vicious attacks and labeling of the PEGIDA marches. If the sycophants, lackeys, lapdogs, and groveling apologists are not voted out of office or answer to the demands of ‘the people’ I fear things will very soon get violent and ugly. When you see your country, culture, and own neighborhood, completely changed and descending into a third world cesspool, you either fight back or lie down if defeat.

  10. In light of the despicable comments on PEGIDA by Chancellor Merkel, I have re-read this brilliantly researched AND commented article. (I mean comments by JLH and by the readers). It should be widely distributed, twitter, Facebook, every means !

    JLH, you report on a friend who:

    (does) not like the appropriation of the motto: “Wir sind das Volk!” because, as he puts it, “We WERE the people”

    and you add:

    “…and they were standing up against one of the most repressive regimes in the world.

    I think that the regime that PEGIDA are fighting, will leave the DDR for dead, and make all those Stasi people look like angels.

    You also capture the level of “journalism” e.g. the FAZ extremely accurately. Personally I think that the majority of media have become the 5th column, rather than the 4th Estate.

    Again, thank you Gates of Vienna and JLH for your outstanding work !

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