While the rest of Europe commemorates 75 years of being freed from the scourge of Adolf Hitler, an estimated 600 neo-Nazis from across the continent met up in a Budapest park on Saturday to mourn.
They gathered in Hungary’s capital for what they call the “Day of Honour”, commemorating an attempted breakout by besieged Nazi forces in 1945. Draped in black and carrying flags of their respective far-right movements from across Europe, they laid wreaths to honour the Nazis and their collaborators who they call “heroes”.
“We have the same enemies today, like we did 75 years ago,” Matthias Deyda, from German far-right group Die Rechte, told the crowd on Saturday. “The enemy isn’t named Muller or Mayer. No, our enemy is named Rothschild or Goldman and Sachs.”
But the event did not pass without protest. Anti-fascist demonstrators organised two separate gatherings, attended by an estimated 300 counter-demonstrators who chanted, sounded sirens and beat on drums to try and drown out the far-right’s presence less than 100 metres (328 feet) away, protected by a police cordon.
After the commemoration, an estimated several thousand people began an overnight march from Budapest, following the almost 60km (37-mile) route of the attempted breakout to a village northwest of the city.
Organisers were also due to host a concert in the evening, at a location only made public late on Friday, featuring five bands that are well known in the neo-Nazi music scene.
The annual event is only promoted by the furthest fringes of the far right but its continued popularity has stirred fears that the far-right message is slowly seeping into the mainstream.