Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Former inmates of the Buchenwald concentration camp in the east of Germany warned Sunday against downplaying the dangers of fascism at about the same time that nazis went on a shooting spree in Mecklenburg.

"In 1945, we never dreamed that today in Germany there would again be right-wing forces that would be allowed to demonstrate in our cities," former inmate Ottomar Rothmann said.

The next day Horst Moeller, director of the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, said Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic book Mein Kampf should be reprinted and go back on sale in German bookshops. He softened his statement by saying it should come with footnotes explaining page by page how Hitler was wrong. Copyright issues have kept it off the shelves since World War II, but in 2015 it will enter the public domain. Then, anyone will be allowed to print it -- including neo-Nazis.

About a month ago a group of actors were beaten up by neo-Nazis in the eastern German city of Halberstadt. They have accused the police of being slow to respond.

The theater group of 14 actors were on their way to a pub after a debut performance on Friday when they were attacked and beaten up by eight far-right youths. Several of the victims had teeth knocked out and required medical treatment for broken noses, injured ribs and jaws and eye injuries.

Police failed to arrest the 22-year-old main assailant even though he returned to the scene while the victims were being questioned, a regional government official said. "The man was checked by police but released before they found out about his prior convictions," Rüdiger Erben, interior ministry secretary for the state of Saxony-Anhalt, told Mitteldeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

Perhaps, just as shocking as the attack itself is the fact that a number of people witnessed the attack and did nothing to help.

The theater group had just finished a performance of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and one of the actors had a punk hairstyle in keeping with his role. That appears to have been enough to provoke the neo-Nazis they came across, newspaper reports said.

The premier of Saxony-Anhalt, Wolfgang Böhmer, said he was appalled by the case.

"It's a sad fact that far-right extremists are becoming increasingly brutal. If people are attacked and injured just because of their appearance it's an appalling crime," Böhmer said.

I find it interesting that search though I might, I located no further information or news on the attack highlighted in the Spiegel article below outside of one local German paper which also seemed to be the source for much of the Spiegel article.


The following is from Spiegel (Germany).

Neo-Nazi Shooting Spree

A gang of right-wing extremists invaded a beach in Eastern Germany on Sunday, shouting racist abuse at day-trippers, making the banned Hitler salute and shooting a submachine gun into the air.

Neo-Nazis have become a lasting problem in some parts of Eastern Germany.
It was a perfect afternoon to go to the lake. Finally, after weeks of cold and rain, Germany on the weekend was bathed in warm sunlight. A Sunday at the water was just the thing.

But day-trippers relaxing by the Krakower See in the Eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania got a bit more than they bargained for on Sunday. A horde of right-wing extremists arrived on the scene shouting racist slogans, making the banned Hitler salute -- and shooting a submachine gun into the air. Beach bathers were terrified by the seeming invasion.

According to the police, six men and one woman drove to the lake in a pick-up truck where they yelled racists slogans and verbally abused the families bathing there, most of whom were ethnic Germans who had moved to Germany from Eastern Europe following the collapse of communism. Such immigrants, many of whom speak only poor German despite their background, are often targeted by right-wing radicals.

The extremists some of whom were drunk, then shot a submachine gun into the air at least 17 times, according to the police. The ordeal only came to an end when a few of the men at the beach succeeded in overpowering the neo-Nazis and holding them down until the police arrived.

The seven suspects, who range in age from 21 to 29, were charged with breaking firearms law and making the banned Hitler salute.

The state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is something of a stronghold for the extreme right. Germany's far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) won 7.3 percent in elections there in September 2006, crossing the 5 percent threshold and securing six seats in the state legislature. And there has been a number of incidents of neo-Nazis insulting or attacking holiday-makers in the state in recent years.

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