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Neo-Nazi victim's girl slams police racism

Published: 19 Feb 2012 13:51 GMT+01:00

Semiya Simsek said she and her family were treated badly by police investigating the murder of her father who was the first of nine Turkish and Greek shopkeepers to be shot to death in the string of killings between 2000 and 2006.

Detectives long assumed the killings were connected to Turkish crime, drugs or money-lending rings. It was not until last November that the self-styled National Socialist Underground group claimed responsibility for the murders – and that of a policewoman in 2007.

The group’s unveiling shocked German society, and drew attention to how the murders were handled by the authorities.

“For years the police tried to get something out of us that was not there. We were accused of keeping quiet because we are Turks. We were not believed because are Turks,” Simsek, who was 14 when her father Enver was shot dead in 2000.

Speaking to the Tagesspiegel on Saturday, Simsek said the actions of the investigating authorities had been so unpleasant that she, “lost my trust in this state, although I was born here.”

She is scheduled to speak at Thursday’s national memorial service in Berlin, “because I want to shake up the public, so that nothing like this is allowed to happen again,” she said.

Federal prosecutors said this weekend they were confident of pressing charges in relation to the murders by this autumn. By then there should be evidence to prove that the one surviving suspect, Beate Zschäpe, was a member of the gang.

She gave herself in to police shortly after the flat she shared with the two NSU members was destroyed in an explosion following their murder-suicide deaths in the wake of a failed bank robbery.

DPA/The Locak/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:20 February 19, 2012 by 1TruthTeller
¦quot;For years the police tried to get something out of us that was not there. We were accused of keeping quiet because we are Turks. We were not believed because are Turks,¦quot; Simsek, who was 14 when her father Enver was shot dead in 2000."

I guess this is the microcosm of what we see at the national and international level. This easily extrapolated statement: ¦quot;For years the US/EU tried to get something out of us, a nuclear weapon, that was not there. We were accused of keeping quiet because we are Iranians. We were not believed because are Iranians,¦quot; they said when her civilian aircraft was shot down some years back, and her nuclear scientists were murdered by "you-know-who" in 2012." being the macrocosm of German intelligence and public policy failures. It's easy to see why folks lose their faith in the State, especially when it's so easily manipulated into, and complicit in, lies.
15:13 February 19, 2012 by X13F
It's easy to see why folks lose their faith in the State, especially when it's so easily manipulated into, and complicit in, lies.

Welcome to life in the "Free World", oh I'm sorry I thought we were talking about America.
15:15 February 19, 2012 by frankiep
^ right.....this is completely relevant to this article about institutional racism and xenophobia in Germany. I'm sure there are plenty of other discussion threads covering the topic of Iran and nuclear weapons....maybe you can try posting this there.

Concerning the article, when I first heard about these murders I immediately had similar thoughts. Although I very much enjoy living in Germany, anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time here cannot deny that xenophobia is deeply ingrained in German society, and that this naturally includes government agencies. How many times do hear Germans, in real life and in the media, casually apply cartoonish and/or insulting stereotypes to foreigners, most of which basically identify non-Germans as criminals. In my experience, this is especially true of East Europeans (Poles, Russians, Serbs, etc.) and Turks. The fact that the media for a long time referred to these murders as the "Döner Murders" is pretty damning evidence of this as far as I'm concerned.
15:51 February 19, 2012 by derExDeutsche
'that the media for a long time referred to these murders as the "Döner Murders" is pretty damning evidence of this as far as I'm concerned. '

I agree with most of your comment, but weren't the Murders called '"Döner Murders" because a number of the murders took place in or around Döner Restaurants? That was my impression, at least. And to be fair, Eastern Europeans and Turks are not exactly famous for their tolerance, either. But this is typical in Europe, I find far more Racism and stereotyping in Europe than in North America. Germans have considered themselves better than everybody else for quite a while now.
18:19 February 19, 2012 by Anth2305
@Frankiep

I'm not trying to excuse their behaviour for one minute, however unlike the rest of us the police do have to confront crime firsthand on a daily basis, and whilst we all know that in an ideal world it shouldn't happen, it's probably safe to assume that a reasonable proportion of what they have to deal with must surely influence their prejudices, leading to what has been termed as 'institutionalised racism'.

Recent headlines such as.. "Foreign nationals responsible for a quarter of all offenses committed in London... a string of horrendous attacks carried out by Eastern European criminals in recent months has raised concerns over the lack of checks on new arrivals".. It's pretty much a certainty that this kind of stuff is going to bring out the xenophobe not only in members of the general public, but also some members of our law enforcement agencies as well.
21:02 February 19, 2012 by raandy
derExDeutsche , How true, give them some momentary success and they are back to the master race.
21:24 February 19, 2012 by Christoph.W
@raandy

very intelligent comment. No differentiation between police, politics, citizens. You know how living is like in Germany. We are all Nazis, I'm shure you know best.

You should think before write something. In every institution in any country - like politics or police - there are racists and facists. This is not a German phenomena. You should read something about the demonstrations in Dresden, Saxony at 13th Feb and 19th Feb. We stood up and stand up against racism and facism. I agree that the police, especially in Saxony, made some acts in the last year that clearly shows that there are ideological motivated people in administration or police, but you can't generalize this to all the police officers. And YOU generalize it with your comment to all germans, which hurts everybody who fight against racism an foreclosure in our country. Be proud of yourself, brave man. It's always funny to affront other people, isn't it?
21:40 February 19, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ derExDeutsche

'weren't the Murders called '"Döner Murders" because a number of the murders took place in or around Döner Restaurants? That was my impression, at least.'

False. Only 2 out of 10 murders were connected with kebab shops. So it has to do with racism.

'And to be fair, Eastern Europeans and Turks are not exactly famous for their tolerance, either.' - Really? I have never heard that, for example, Romanians, Bulgarian or Hungarian would be intolerant. Where do you get your info from? I have a feeling that this is how racism is born/developed, by spreading false information.

@ Anth2305

'it's probably safe to assume that a reasonable proportion of what they [the police] have to deal with must surely influence their prejudices'

Are you referring to the article 'Young Muslim criminals reoffend less often'? http://www.thelocal.de/society/20120219-40829.html
21:47 February 19, 2012 by wood artist
It is often difficult for police personnel to avoid jumping to a more or less "obvious" conclusion regarding a crime. That's sad, but it's also true.

If you find someone murdered, odds are that they knew the attacker. That doesn't, however, mean it couldn't have been a stranger. If someone inside the victims group of friends seems "interesting" often the focus narrows far too soon. I'm not justifying whatever blinders the police might have been wearing in these cases, just acknowledging that perhaps they got trapped early on, and if there was no "obvious" evidence to lead them towards some extremist group, they probably didn't look very far in that direction. Assuming there was some "bias" in the investigation, it might be, albeit wrongly, because nothing suggested other options.

Hopefully, these deaths will provide some valuable lessons for the future. Unfortunately, that's about the only thing they can do now.

wa
09:24 February 20, 2012 by Talonx
@ Frankiep

Having lived most of my life in the U.S., but spent a considerable time in Germany now. The one thing; I've noticed is that though Germany like every nation (by way of being a nation) has problems with xenophobia and racism they are in fact dwarfed by the ferventness of such attitudes in the U.S. In fact, given the statistics, it seems that most fascists in the world and people who harbour racist attitudes come from places like the U.S., U.K., and Russia - Germany is way down the list.

@ Anth

Your prejudice apologetics are a bit weak, considering your asinine assumptions are directly controvertible .

@ Christoph & @ ChrisRea

Excellent take down of Randy. To add to the implications of your well put qualifications/defenses of modern German folk: I do as well agree that the problem of racism and xenophobia must be pursued as ardently as is possible wherever and to whatever degree it is found. That said, it seems to me that the situation in Germany is often portrayed outside of Germany as a major and special German problem just as often as it is portrayed as such within Germany. It would seem to me that this has more to do with the comparatively directed nature of German's attitudes towards the problems of racism and xenophobia - i.e. German's are more conscious of the problems racism and xenophobia pose, but less conscous of the fact that they are more common per capita in Germany than just about every other nation on the face of the planet.
10:59 February 20, 2012 by JenDigs
As an American living here, I have to disagree that most fascists in the world and people who harbour racist attitudes come from places like the U.S.... I'm not going to say that all Germans are racist, because I live in only one small part of Germany (Hesse), but I will say that I have personally encountered more overt racism here than I ever encountered in the United States (I lived in upstate NY- not the city). (Mind, I don't keep the kind of company that would make overt racist remarks- I would toss those folks to the curb.) I think most reasonable people want to see positive action taken to avoid similar problems in the future rather than hearing a bunch of rhetoric about how police face more crime every day than the average citizen and therefor should be cut some slack for being racist. (When you put it like that, it just sounds stupid, no?) Pax!
12:19 February 20, 2012 by raandy
Christoph.W thanks for the social lesson, but I have lived here many years and I see this more and more.When you talk about a nation it is always a generalization,

If the shoe fits wear it if it doen't then consider it another ill formed generalization.
12:55 February 20, 2012 by lewis69
I call bull crap on this one it does not matter what you do some one calls RACISM! Any thing left wing and stupid The Local can publish they will because they want people to belive as they do its just propaganda from the left. And I'm no neo nazi any one with a brain can pick up on it.
13:58 February 20, 2012 by mike_1983
they say the police are racist?

well they are human and if anyone is dealing constantly with immigrant youth crime day in day out they would become a little "over it".
15:38 February 20, 2012 by Craptastic
I think it is less racism than the paralyzing fear of realization that this country, regardless of history, democracy, or apology, has not outgrown race-based violence.
15:43 February 20, 2012 by Talonx
@ Christoph & @Chris Rea

*"...less common per capita in Germany..." is what I meant to say.

@JenDigs,

Anecdotal accounts are only meaningful insofar as they ellucidate quantitative significance, that is, one person's experience does not equate to thousands yet a thousand persons experience is more relevant a description than one persons.

Not everyone has a background in science so I'm not gonna call you stupid or assume that you are, but I would like you very much to understand the nature of the logical fallacy you've committed by discarding mass quantitative data with your personal experience. It is absolutely impossible to oppose quantitative date with qualitative data in the social sciences, the most they can do is compliment one another. So whereas that quantitative data significantly shows that the U.S., U.K., and Russia harbour more racists and xenophobes than Germany per capita (much much more), your experience serves to describe what minimal racism/xenophobia does exist but not as a proof against quantities.

It is probably also worth considering that racist and xenophobic attitudes aren't manifested in the same way from culture to culture, and the overtness you experience in Germany may have more to do with your not being used to the German version of racism in the same way you are to forms of racism/xenophobia in the U.S. To clarify, Germany does not ghettoize its minority, migrant, and underprivileged populations with an archaic and blatantly racist local taxes-based educational system, however racism/xenophobia will be abundantly apparent to non-germans in the form of political correctness (of which the Germans have very little when it comes to ethnic sensitivities) in common speech though it generally ends there and does not translate to racist attituteds, actions, or policies (though there is much work to be done here too). I'm not arguing that any racism is acceptable, just that it manifests differently in different places, and that according to the research Germany has far less folk per capita (than most other nations) who think 'race' as a biological construct justifying injustice exists.
16:16 February 20, 2012 by JenDigs
@Talonx

Thank you for assuming I am not stupid.

From your remarks it appears you only consider those with a background in "science" as being intelligent enough to understand your blathering.

I'm wondering what quantitative data you are referring to...(good scientists usually provide these up front to support their arguments)? I am not discarding mass quantitative data I have not been provided with (neither you nor the article provide anything)- but unlike many others who have commented here and everywhere else, I don't assume my experiences can be extended beyond my locality (re-read my comment if you are unsure about this) and was only sharing my personal experience. Again, I think most people with concerns over the story we are all commenting on simply want to see a positive path forward, not excuses.
16:57 February 20, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ JenDigs

What I undestood from what Talonx said is that accounts of direct personal experience are normally considered anecdotal evidence and that can be easily interpreted wrongly (for example through availability heuristic).

Namely, 'as an American living here' you cannot really draw a conclusion such as 'I have to disagree that most fascists in the world and people who harbour racist attitudes come from places like the U.S' (you haven't been all over US and all over the rest of the world to be able to reach an objective conclusion that contradicts the statistics). So your statement is actually a fallacy.
17:38 February 20, 2012 by michael4096
It always amazes me how people have one standard for their favourite cultures but another for Germany. For example, from Craptastic we have...

"You can no more be responsible for every imbecile that comes from your country than I can for every American"

...when discussing British boxers, but when discussing a couple of German neo-nazi imbeciles here we have...

"[Germany] has not outgrown race-based violence"
18:21 February 20, 2012 by Talonx
@JenDigs

Using far-right membership as an easy proxy, the German Constitutional Protection agency (2011), whose job it is to watch such groups estimates ~25,000 (~5,000 neo nazis) far right extremists with formal membership or ties(http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,771647,00.html). The Anti-Defamation League estimates upwards of 50,000 members for the racist Christian Identity movement, Th Council of Conservative Citizens has about 15,000, and at least 5,000 for the KKK (adl.org); the explicitly racist John Birch Society (affiliated with Ron Paul in past publications) counts 55,000 in 1995 and says it's numbers have as much as doubled in recent years (jbs.org). Using just the groups provided for the U.S. and an estimate of all groups in Germany, we find that .03% of Germany is far-right affiliated, whereas adding up only this small subset of groups in the U.S. shows .04% of the U.S. (Probably much higher, but hard to say since no organizations in the U.S. seem to study the problem, unlike in Germany). Already however, the difference is significant even with only .01% given the absolute size of both populations this comes out to be a rather big per capita difference.

That said, I assumed you were intelligent and could look things up for yourself which is why I originally posted nothing (in the sciences the onus is generally on the person disputing an established claim, which, this tends to not waste time). I guess with all my 'blathering' combined with your general and unwaranted ill-will I overestimated your abilities. I 'apologize' (sarcasm) for trying to explicitly show you respect and didn't realize you would be so unkind and non-constructive in response to my considerately thought out constructive criticism.
23:43 February 20, 2012 by Christoph.W
@ raandy

Yeah, you're right. You are not the only one observes these developement in Germany. I'm sorry if my comment was impolite, and I apologize, but it had hurt me when I read it. Broad Europe is getting more and more xenophobic. But whereas there are militias for example in hungary dressed like the SS or the short-period closure of boarders in denmark (means abandonment of the schengen-treaty), it isn't that far in germany. Broad Politics are not made yet with ideological xenophibia in germany like, for example, in the netherland by Geert Wilders. But I deeply agree, that this is a development we all shoud be aware of and a danger, all Germans have to fear. After all, there is a reason for what is called "saxon democracy"., means that public authoritys do less against stop Neonazis demonstrating in my beloved city Dresden but pursuit those who blocked the Nazidemonstration one year ago.
01:35 February 21, 2012 by Talonx
@JenDigs

Sorry, it's actually .03% in Germany (absolute maximum) versus .07% in the U.S. for only the small sub-set of groups included in the calculation.
10:30 February 21, 2012 by JenDigs
@Talonx

OK. So, just so I am clear- you are referencing statistics compiled by a German Federal agency- correct? (German Constitutional Protection Agency) One that has a vested interest in the interpretation of the data.... (I'm rather skeptical of Federal agencies measuring such statistics.) I can't say I agree with using just group membership as a measure of racism. (In any country...) I didn't consider your response considerately constructive as you used such impolite language ("...so I'm not gonna [sic] call you stupid or assume you are...")... If you genuinely were not being rude, then I apologize for using "blathering". Unfortunately, being relatively new to Germany, I don't speak the language well-enough to review German-language articles, but I'll happily do my own research when I have time ... Again, I was only commenting on my personal experiences- hoping to hear others personal experiences (perhaps I'm just in an area of extremely vocal racists... seems that any time I have a discussion with a civil servant, neighbor, machler, or service person I hear about how I won't have a problem getting help in Germany because I am fair-skinned and "clearly not Turkish". I'm sure not every one of these people belong to any far-right extremist groups, but they still seem comfortable clearly expressing their racial opinions to someone they've only just met...but perhaps that is because the world-opinion of Americans is that they are all racists.) When I first moved here, all I heard about was the integration policy- how wonderful it was to have such a policy- and how Germans are so sensitive to racial issues... I just haven't seen this for myself yet. Pax!
10:50 February 21, 2012 by Talonx
@JenDigs

The constitutional protection agency has a vested interest in protecting the constitution of Germany. Additionally, they are dependent on money that comes in depending on how large an estimated threat is. So if anything they would have a tendency to overestimate the support of anti-constitutional groups to get more money.

As I openly admit such measures as I have provided are only proxies, however, they are some of the only measureable variables available. That said, they are pretty sound proxies, if you can think of a reason why they shouldn't be I would much like to hear it. There are other articles detailing specific trajectories of racist attitudes in the U.S. and Germany independently, I can scrounge them up for you if you like.

Regarding racial attitudes from culture to culture (Germany vs. the U.S.), your potential explanation is exactly what I was trying to hint at and then some. Not only can racism manifest differently in different cultures (institutional racism in the U.S. educational system vs. political incorrectness in Germany), but so to is it possible that a greater sensitivity and concern about racism as research indicates is present in Germany might lead to the situation where locals overemphasize the problems and mistake actual discussion of the problem for evidence that it is especially problematic vs. countries in which the tendency is towards apathy (I can provide this research though it's a bunch more statistical and boring in nature).

I fully appreciate your apology, and would like to apologize myself for using impolite language with you, my only intent was to let you know that I did not mean to condescend or imply that you were incapable of understanding scientific concepts/reasoning.
11:22 February 21, 2012 by JenDigs
I'll let you know what I find when I have a chance to do some research... but I would just like to point out that you keep calling it "political incorrectness" in Germany and I would argue that not providing the same level of service/support to someone because of their race or ethnic background would be racist and not just politically incorrect. (This is what I have been personally faced with- Germans telling me that I would receive more assistance and support/understanding because I am not Turkish.) I grew up in the US education system (in a "poor" district) and agree with your general statements about it, but I can't say I've seen that much difference here (and yes, I have visited several schools in my area- those in "wealthy" areas are nicer and offer more than those in poorer areas)- and while I understand that the system is different here in that kids can go to schools outside their home area, is not their admission based on grades (and every statistic I've ever seen indicates that the poorer someone is, the less likely they can achieve good grades because of the poor home situation and lack of money for tutoring and extra-curricular activities...)?? Ciao for now...
17:18 February 21, 2012 by Talonx
@ JenDigs

I would agree with you about services provided, that would definately constitute a manifestation of xenophobia. The nature of nations is to exclude non-nationals from the rights of citizens (sometimes even rights we would consider human rights), this is normative behaviour in any nation. Privilege is of course gained by foreigners like you and I if the natives think we look like them. The immigration laws in place in Germany aren't as radical as they are in the states. For instance, Germany does not have prisons set up for full families they are deporting as is found in the border states in the U.S., though problems of course still exist. I would posit that the problems you notice, you are only noticing now Germany as you never had to deal with immigration law in the U.S.. What I would like to direct your attention to is that a public discussion amongst every day folk (your friends) of the fairness of these laws exists in Germany, whereas in the U.S. the mainstream line is 'we have to protect our borders'.

As for the educational system, people with a migration background, people who are poor, and so forth are always going to be disadvantaged, at home for instance; but not IN school in Germany when it comes to necessary funding and basic curriculum. As a result the disadvantage does not accrue to become multi-generational as has been the case in the U.S., this is why Germany does not have Ghettos like you will find in just about any city in the U.S.. Research by the government also exists on this topic, but only for Germany and as such doesn't do much for comparison (noticing a trend here?, e.g. statistics gathered on far-rights groups by the German government, but not the U.S. government). Additionally, any Gymnasium you go to in Germany will prepare you for any university in Germany, this is not true of all accredited Highschools in the U.S., same goes for technical professions learned at Haupt-, Gesamt-, or Realschule. I think if you speak with your German friends who have poor schooling experience in Germany and compare your poor schooling experience, you will find them appalled and shocked.

To bring it all back to the beginning, admittedly with pure speculation, what do you think would have happened to this Neo-nazi case in the U.S.? My money is on some black man being arrested, someone within the Turkish community being arrested, or the murder not even making it into news media because it didn't involve any little blonde girls. On top of that, I would expect some right wing pundits to gain national prominence in public discourse Glenn Beck-style promoting the 'she was wearing a sexy skirt' theory of victimization (in this case it would be, 'has a non-local background') as an explanation of the hate murders. In Germany, we see universal outcry at just about any ethnic injustice (including in this case the name for the murder spree 'Dönermurders').
20:15 February 21, 2012 by kofiflay
So far the first intellectual discussion I have seen on TheLocal, almost free from trolls. As a foreigner(Black) also living in Berlin, I must admit Germany is quite safe compared to some big cities in the world and in general Germans are tolerant. People will always be who they are because of their culture, experiences e.t.c but as long as its from a distance; no attacks, discriminated against by institutions e.t.c I personally think its okay

and you are right Talonx, in Germany there is almost universal outcry when ethnic or racial injustice happens
10:27 February 22, 2012 by trevzns
@ Talonx

As for the educational system, people with a migration background, people who are poor, and so forth are always going to be disadvantaged, at home for instance; but not IN school in Germany when it comes to necessary funding and basic curriculum. As a result the disadvantage does not accrue to become multi-generational as has been the case in the U.S., this is why Germany does not have Ghettos like you will find in just about any city in the U.S..

@ kofiflay

I must admit Germany is quite safe compared to some big cities in the world and in general Germans are tolerant. People will always be who they are because of their culture, experiences e.t.c but as long as its from a distance; no attacks, discriminated against by institutions e.t.c I personally think its okay

@ Talonx,

Where are you finding your research information regarding the quality of education on High schools and Universities in the U.S.? Your information is faulty and has a whiff of Eurocentrism.

The U.S. is a nation of immigrants since its founding and not all the immigrants were Europeans or of European descent. Despite the educational, racial and economic problems in the U.S., your comparisons of Germany or any other European country producing better educated and more tolerant citizens, is bias and self-serving propaganda.

At all levels in U.S. society, government, Industry, medical, technology and science, you will find diversity of a multi-cultural environment of well educated, tolerant immigrants and descendants of immigrants, that were born and educated in the U.S.. Working alongside or leading teams with some of best minds Germany, Europe or any other country in the world has to offer. Unfortunately today, American society is becoming less tolerant and less open of others as well.

Germany does not have Ghettos? Ghetto is a European word to describe the low level of the social and economic conditions of an area for Europeans or people living in Europe, which includes Germany. Germany has its share Ghettos and not to mention, there are Germans of nonimmigrant backgrounds that live in Ghettos or have a Ghetto mentality.
13:41 February 22, 2012 by raandy
Christoph.W thanks for the come back, I feel a kinship to Germany as my wife is German and my two children were born here. I understand your sensitivity to the subject , no disrespect intended.
09:31 February 23, 2012 by Talonx
@Trevns

Your statements just don't fit the data. In fact it would seem, on the contrary, that you are the victim of America propaganda. I found a good short summary of all the very excellent research I've voiced earlier for you here:

http://www.all4ed.org/files/IntlComp_FactSheet.pdf

The U.S. is one of the only highly developed (industrially and commercially) developed nation on the planet with ghettos, these ghettos are solely a product, ultimately, of a poor educational system. I am perhaps immune from the propaganda you feel victim too as I grew up around teachers. In particular I had a father who worked at a so-called 'at risk' charter school.

In general the political rhetoric around education mirrors that surrounding healthcare. American politicians know they get votes by claiming that America has the best anything and so they simply claim it, true or not. It's a very unfortunate situation for our country.

Getting back to the main story. This brave young women is a good example of a supreme German education. Now if only the same standards were applied to people who become police...
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Ice cream for dogs 'gobbled up in one gulp'
Education
Are hotpants a feminist issue?
Rhineland
Lion cub reunited with mother
National
How the heatwave is cracking Germany's Autobahns
International
Why the French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
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Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
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