Other Germanies: Opera singers face trial for confronting racist demo

Other Germanies: Opera singers face trial for confronting racist demo


norman lebrecht

November 24, 2015

The anti-foreigner Alternative für Deutschland movement held a demo outside the Mainz State Theatre on Saturday night.

Singers responded by moving their Beethoven rehearsal to the lobby and belting out the Ode to Joy, as you can see below. They also unfurled a banner proclaiming Stop Racism.


mainz singers

Now the singers are facing a criminal prosecution for infringing the rights of the demonstrators by singing too loud.

Polizeisprecherin Heidi Nägel sagte gegenüber dem SWR, dass hier schließlich ein Grundrecht verletzt worden sei: “Die Sänger waren eindeutig zu laut. Das war nach dem Versammlungsgesetz eine grobe Störung, und das ist eine Straftat.”

Mainzer Dom demo


  • John says:

    We all have the right to hold different views. The problem is how those on the left genuinely believe their views are the only acceptable ones and try to shout down what they do not like.

    • John Dawson says:

      But demonstrations ARE usually about shouting. You collect as many people as you can find who share your view, then you go and March/shout about it. If some people who disagree with you want to sing Beethoven to drown you out and are numerous enough to do so, hard luck – you’re clearly not as powerful a lobby as you thought. It’s a sort of arms race, isn’t it? If you espouse a view, then find that you are opposed by an equal and opposite force, well, tough! That’s democracy. They were having Beethoven sung at them – it’s not like the authorities were using water cannon. On the evidence I’ve seen, these demonstrators weren’t weren’t discriminated against or deprived of any rights – they were just outwitted!

    • John Borstlap says:

      But imagine such thing happened in the thirties: a demonstration fo 300 nazis being disrupted by 1000 anti-nazidemonstrators. AfD stands for everything that the new Germany is NOT.

    • Eddie Mars says:

      Yes, John.You oppose Beethoven, and you hate classical music. Stick to Toby Keith, it’s more your style.

      With no love from Europe.

  • JayBuyer says:

    Surely it’s not April 1st. I know Germans like to be ‘korrekt’ but this German P.C. gone mad.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The video shows a small demonstration being shouted-down by an uproar of boo’s from anti-AfD protesters who indeed seem to be a majority. Of the choir’s Beethoven bit there is hardly anything to be heard so if the choir has to face prosecution, then also the 1000 anti-demonstrators should undergo the same fate. If this choir is punished by singing the Ode to joy, that would be utterly absurd, an abberation of self-destructive PC culture.

  • L.F. says:

    Seriously, its really surprising how on an English-speaking website everybody bluntly agrees about AfD being racist.

    May I remind our dear English speaking global citizens that Britain, Australia, USA and Canada take very few or no migrants from the middle East and anyway have very restrictive immigration policies.

    In contrast to this Germany since 2015 has practically open borders, it is inundated by far over a Million mostly muslim young male refugees, half of them illegal by current laws, half of them also analphabetic or with rudimentary schooling, perhaps a quarter clandestine, all hoping to bring their families which would bring their number far over 3 Mio. for this year alone! How can this continue? With the exception of Mrs Merkel and the current government a majority of Germans consider this development as dangerous and insane.

    Anybody who cares to read the program of AfD can see that they just demand application of current German laws and structuring of the immigration process along the lines of some English-speaking countries:


    So any English-speaking global citizen denouncing the AfD as being racist should perhaps please blame himself first and foremost!

    • Don Ciccio says:

      May I remind you my dear (insert something here) that since 2009 U.S. has taken 70% of world refugees. Thank you Germany for stepping up and doing your part – finally.

    • Dirk Fischer says:

      >> “With the exception of Mrs Merkel and the current government a majority of Germans consider this development as dangerous and insane.”

      As a German living in Germany, I can confidently say that this is nonsense.

  • Mathieu says:

    The too-loud-singing/public-disorder argument I can get. It’s a stretch, but, well, I can get it. But the Grundrecht argument escapes me, frankly. How are the fundamental rights of the AfD demonstrators being infringed by the counter-demonstrators ? This is absurd.

    Or maybe German readers, or readers versed in German con law, could tell us more about this?

  • Brian says:

    The best description of Beethoven’s Ninth I have ever heard, and by a most unlikely source, a police spokesperson: “grobe Störung”!

  • V.Lind says:

    I think before you criticise the Commonwealth, you might look to the east of your own continent, where doors are closed. Almost the first thing the new Canadian Prime Minister declared upon winning was that he would admit 25,000 Syrian refugees — by year end. (He was elected October 19). You can imagine the strain this puts on officials, to screen applicants properly, and on immediately available resources. It was a rather rash undertaking, but reports coming in suggest that activity is frenzied on all fronts to meet this commitment. And Canada has a long history of welcoming refugees. It has the larges of several communities outside their countries of origin.

    Germany’s policy strikes me as wrongheaded — the intention clearly to show that this is not the racist country of yore, but it looks as if it is in danger of being too open and has become divisive for the good of the nation. German’s near neighbours on the east (and south) have taken a very old-fashioned, to put it charitably, position. My position is that they abide by EU policy or get kicked out. Time some of these old comm dictatorships reallised that democracy comes with costs, and they ought to bear their share. EU membership has made them rich, and let their people roam at will throughout the western reaches of Europe. Time for a little of that openness of borders to extend the other way.

    • L.F. says:

      Canadas 25’000 is nice, and AfD will surely more than agree to take also 25’000 to Germany. But this is really just nothing compared to the millions coming and waiting to come. Maybe it also would be just to remember that many Eastern-European countries have some experience of Ottoman wars and/or occupations and Islam, experiences which Western Europe still has before itself.

      • V.Lind says:

        Poland? One of the hardest slams. Czech Republic?

        But I agree there are countries that could be doing more. Sweden’s intake, in comparison to Britain’s, is massive. (But so are the consequent problems, something Germany is finding and that Cameron apparently hopes not to happen in the UK).

    • Don Ciccio says:

      A Romanian friend told me that while the government was willing to take some refugees, according to a quota agreed upon with the EU, none were willing to come to Romania due to its reputation as a poor country.

  • KSJ says:

    It’s not their fault they sang the Ode to Joy so loudly; Beethoven’s voice writing makes this the only way to sing, what is possibly the biggest choral scream of all time… Second only to carmina burana, perhaps.

  • Gerhard says:

    As in other cases this is a headline which contains rather little representation of the facts. For the moment there is just a complaint, nothing more. The only surprising detail is the point that the police itself has filed this complaint, which is highly uncustomary in such a case. I do expect this will backfire quickly against the official who made this decision. And I’m quite sure nobody of the choir or the theatre will ever be in court because of this.