Ten statues of angry wolves performing the Nazi salute went on display on Thursday for around nine hours as a protest against “increasing hatred and violence” in the German city of Chemnitz. Some of the wolves were blindfolded, while others looked ready to attack.
“All kinds of radicalism is what we don’t need anymore, it won’t bring any solution. What we need is a debate against hate and violence,” German artist Rainer Opolka told Euronews.
The exhibition arrives following far-right and anti-migrant protests in the city after a German man was allegedly killed by two German migrants.
The idea for the pack of bronze wolves was inspired by the fact that Nazis and present-day right-wing radicals describe themselves as “wolves,” explained The Wolves Are Back, the organizers of the display.
“Some people brought me a cake or even coffee. Classes of schools came and it was very positive. But of course, there were also some people, maybe 10 percent, who said I’m the problem… and that I am a Nazi,” Opolka told Euronews, mentioning that five trucks and four people are often needed to set up the display.
The pack of wolves had previously shown up in the German cities of Berlin, Potsdam, Dresden and most recently in Munich for the trial of Beate Zschäpe, a neo-Nazi who was found guilty in July for the murder of 10 people between 2000 and 2007.
“Many people see terrorism on TV, and that makes them afraid. They don’t see the difference between the terrorists and the people who have escaped terrorism,” Opolka told The Guardian in 2016.
A man was given an eight-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay $2,325 on Thursday after he was found guilty of performing the illegal Nazi salute during the anti-migrant protests in Chemnitz, and two German police officers were suspended two weeks ago after they allegedly made racist comments and performed the Nazi salute outside a pub in the city of Rosenheim.
“People ganging up, chasing people who look different from them or who come from elsewhere…is something we won’t tolerate. This has no place in our cities, and I can say for the German government that we condemn this in the sharpest possible manner,” Steffen Seibert, spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, told reporters the day after the protests, according to Associated Press.
“What was seen yesterday in parts of Chemnitz and what was recorded on video has no place in our country,” he said.