Nadja Kirchhof


Lichterkette e.V. makes its mark on the web with #menschdeutschland

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It all began with the largest demonstration in Munich since the post-war era. That was the first action of the association Lichterkette e.V., which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The work of the association is still as relevant today as it was when it was founded in 1992. With a new campaign, the association is also planning to set an example online.


On 6 December 2022, on the occasion of its 30th anniversary, Lichterkette e.V. will launch the nationwide social awareness campaign Mensch.Deutschland. 30 Jahre Lichterkette e.V. The message of this digital chain of lights is clear: NO to discrimination and YES to diversity.

On 6 December 1992, more than 400,000 people demonstrated with candles against xenophobia and right-wing radicalism at a chain of lights in Munich. They were reacting to riots like the one in Rostock-Lichtenhagen. In August 1992, right-wing extremists attacked the Central Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers (ZAst) and set fire to a hostel for former Vietnamese contract workers with Molotov cocktails. The xenophobic riots had caused horror throughout Germany. 

The initiators of the chain of lights were Gil Bachrach, Giovanni di Lorenzo, Christoph Fisser and Chris Häberlein. In the same year, the association "Die Lichterkette München - Eine Stadt sagt Nein e.V." (since 2002 Lichterkette e.V.) was founded with the aim of promoting the peaceful coexistence of people of different origins.

The association supports projects for greater integration of refugees and people with a migration background, for example through language and further education courses. Together with the Migration Advisory Board and the City of Munich, it awards a sponsorship prize for this purpose. 

30 years of commitment to peaceful and diverse coexistence

30 years ago, the couple Louis and Ilana Lewitan were also involved in the Munich chain of lights. They still have friendly relations with several members of the association from that time. They meet at demonstrations against anti-Semitism and right-wing radicalism in the city or at events like the German lesson, which Lichterkette e.V. organized for years to generate donations for projects.

In her work as an artist, Ilana Lewitan is also concerned with an open, non-violent society: "We have to stand up to the growing ignorance with our heads held high so that we don't suddenly find ourselves headless. I fight prejudice because I think and feel democratically. As an artist, I want to build up, stimulate and shake up. I paint for tolerance and against ignorance."

Together against hate - also on the net

Since 1992, a lot has changed in society and also in the way we communicate. New ways and forms of communication offer many opportunities, but can also be misused for negative tendencies. For some years now, the association has recognized a brutalization of language. This often begins as early as primary school. Lichterkette e.V. has therefore launched a school project with its cooperation partner SprachBewegung e.V. that sensitizes children to respectful cooperation.

A place that has also become a breeding ground for hatred, exclusion and radicalism is the net. Fake news, trolls and hate speech abound. It is important to speak out against this, says psychologist and author Louis Lewitan: "Democracy needs engagement with heart, not brains without brains. Hate on the internet leads to hate in everyday life. I want kindness and respect in everyday life, not hate and anger."

 New campaign: Mensch.Deutschland. 30 years of Lichterkette e.V.

To counter hate and agitation on the net, Lichterkette e.V. is launching a new campaign that will start on 6 December 2022 - exactly 30 years after the Lichterkette demonstration in Munich. The core of the campaign "Mensch.Deutschland" consists of over 100 video clips. In addition to the Lewitan couple, contributors include rapper and model QUEEN Lizzy, business teacher and Roma activist Atide Jasarova, TV presenter Mitri Sirin, journalist Alev Dogan and actor Kida Ramadan.

Mensch. Deutschland

"Mensch.Deutschland" sees itself as a continuously growing archive: Through the personal stories told in the videos, an inventory of racist and discriminatory tendencies in Germany is created. This chain of lights does not take place in the streets of Munich, but digitally nationwide - as a social media movement - which everyone can join via the hashtag #menschdeutschland. In this way, everyone can demonstrate online for peaceful, diverse and exclusion-free coexistence.

More information on the campaign and the association can be found at, Facebook:, Instagram

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