A group of neo-Nazis unwittingly raised €10,000 (£8,000) for a charity dedicated to the eradication of fascism when they took part in "Germany's most involuntary walkathon".

Fascist groups have been making an annual pilgrimage to the town of Wunsiedel since Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess was buried there in 1987, but although Hess’s body was exhumed and the grave destroyed in 2011, the marches have continued.

This year, beleaguered locals decided to turn the tables on the right-wing extremists by pledging to donate €10 for each metre the fascists marched, with all proceeds going towards EXIT-Deutschland, a charity that helps people leave neo-Nazi groups.

The charity captured the unwitting fundraising stunt on video, which can be viewed above. It shows the neo-Nazis looking increasingly confused as they note that the streets are painted with words of encouragement and hemmed with supportive banners.

They were even offered bananas to keep them going, with the fruit laid out under a banner which read 'Mein Mampf' ('My Snack') in punning reference to Adolf Hitler's biography, Mein Kampf.

As the 200 or so marchers completed their annual pilgrimage through the Upper Franconia town, a banner was unveiled thanking the extremists for raising €10,000 (£8,000) through the 'Nazis Against Nazis' march, and certificates were handed out as confetti fell.

"We wanted to create an alternative to counter-demonstrations," EXIT-Deutschland’s Fabian Wichmann told The Local.

Inge Schuster, spokesperson for the mayor of Wunsiedel, added: "It was an absolute success. It created something positive, including the €10,000 donation for EXIT-Deutschland."

But Wichmann doesn't believe that Wunsiedel has seen the last of these unwanted visitors - and that's due to the area’s indelible link to Europe’s darkest hour.

"They probably won't go away," he said. "The history of the town is too important to them, but at least we've created something good out of it."

This is not the first time that EXIT-Deutschland has used humour to counter the scourge of extremism. The organisation once distributed swastika-strewn T-shirts at a nationalist music festival.

But the imagery was designed to disappear in the wash, leaving extremists free to consider the underlying slogan: "If your T-shirt can do it, you can do it too: we'll help you get away from far-right extremism."

Photo/video credits: EXIT-Deutschland