“Never again,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said today on Holocaust Remembrance Day, amid a strong mobilization of his fellow citizens against the far right.

Demonstrations in more than 300 towns and villages are planned in total this weekend across the country, according to the “Together Against the Far Right” alliance.

In Kiel, a city in northern Germany, 11,500 people, according to the police, 15,000 according to the organizersgathered in the town hall square at noon.

“Democracy is not for the faint of heart!” “Red card for AfD (German far-right party, Alternative for Germany),” the posters read, Johannes Boker, a 29-year-old physiotherapist who attended the rally, told AFP.

“For me, it was important to demonstrate to honor the victims of National Socialism but also to protest against the rise of the far right,” he said.

In Düsseldorf, western Germany, “tens of thousands of people” gathered, according to police.

In Stuttgart, to the southwest, 1,500 to 2,000 people gathered, according to an AFP journalist who was at the scene. “I want to create a Nazi-free zone for my granddaughter,” said 60-year-old Margrit Walter.

In a podcast broadcast today, Chancellor Olaf Scholz recalled Germany’s responsibility for the crime against humanity that is the Holocaust.

He was happy to see his country “on its feet” as “millions of citizens protest in the streets”.

For two weeks now, Germans have been holding rallies across the country against the radical tendencies of the AfD.

“There are three times as many protests as last week, mainly in eastern Germany,” the civil alliance Campact, which is among the organizers of the mobilization, wrote in a press release issued this morning.

In this region where the former German Democratic Republic once stood, the AfD recorded its best electoral performance.

Two weeks ago, the social democrat Olaf Scholz took to the streets in Potsdam, a city neighboring Berlin where he lives.

Today, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius demonstrated in Osnabrück (northwest), where he was born.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the date of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp by the Soviets on January 27, 1945, is an annual occasion for commemoration.

But this year, the 79th anniversary is taking place amid a tense atmosphere following the revelation on January 10 by the German investigative media outlet Correctiv of a meeting of extremists in Potsdam last November where they discussed a plan to mass deport foreigners or people of foreign origin.

In front of members of the Bundestag on January 18, German Interior Minister Nancy Fesser compared the meeting to the Wannsee Conference where the Nazis planned the extermination of Europe’s Jews in 1942.

“‘Never again’ requires everyone’s vigilance. Our democracy is not a gift from God, people create it,” the chancellor warned, before concluding: “Never again, that goes for every day.”