• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Germany remembers victims of neo-Nazi gang

The Local · 23 Feb 2012, 11:41

Published: 23 Feb 2012 11:41 GMT+01:00

The memorial took place some three months after the country was shocked by revelations that a far-right group calling itself the National Socialist Underground (NSU) had gone on a racist killing spree from 2000 to 2006. The trio murdered nine immigrant small business owners - eight Turks and one Greek - as well as one policewoman.

Chancellor Angela Merkel gave the main address - following the sudden resignation of President Christian Wulff last week - before 1,200 guests at the Concert House on the central Gendarmenmarkt square.

“The murders of the Thuringian terror cell were an attack on our country,” a sombre-looking Merkel said. “They have brought shame upon our country.”

She was flanked on stage by candles representing the victims: “Ten burning candles, ten lives extinguished – extinguished by cold-blooded murder.”

Semiya Simsek, the daughter of the first victim, expressed the fears and frustrations of the survivors after the crimes of the far-right terror cell were revealed: "My father was murdered by neo-Nazis. Is that supposed to comfort me?"

The 25-year-old was born and raised in Germany, but she had previously admitted she had considered leaving the country because she could not cope with knowing her father was killed simply because he was not German.

"Am I at home in Germany? Of course I am," she said at the ceremony. "But how can I be sure of this when there are people who don't want me here. In our country, in my country, everyone should be able to realize their dreams."

The NSU murders put Germany’s police and domestic intelligence services in a particularly bad light. The authorities failed to consider xenophobic motives for the killings for several years, instead chalking them up to organized crime in ethnic communities.

The cases were even derogatorily dubbed the “Döner Murders“ because so many of the victims were Turkish and a few worked at kebab shops.

Merkel asked the family members of the victims for forgiveness.

“I know how difficult it must be for you to be here today,” she said.

Story continues below…

Kenan Kolat, the head of the Turkish Community in Germany, said he welcomed the state ceremony but lamented that the country’s political leaders had apparently learned little from a spate of xenophobic murders in the early 1990s.

“It’s important to condemn racism but that’s not enough,” Kolat told the Neues Deutschland newspaper.

The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

19:10 February 24, 2012 by Almirante
Yes, German is now oh so humane because Germans wag their fingers at what their grandfathers did.

Congratulations, Germany! You have come so far.

You no longer mass-murder and harvest the gold fillings of people who don't fit your accepted and approval-stamped religions.

But let someone show an interest in a religion that isn't Catholic, Lutheran (and a few other "acceptable" Protestant religions, or Judaism (you really *have to* at least socially tolerate Judaism now, don't you, no matter what you say behind closed doors?).

Suddenly that small religion is "suspect," "strange," and all manner of other adjectives pulled directly from Reich Minister Goebbel's propaganda pages of the 1930s and 40s.

Don't pat yourselves on the backs just yet. You might break that arm you'll need to beat up someone tomorrow.
22:18 February 24, 2012 by Dizz
So how long should the sins of the father be attached to the son? Your post borders on the absurd. Everybody knows that Germany has a problem with xenophobia and suspicion. All you need to do is be from a different kiez in the same town and that is often enoug. Suspicion and xenophobia are just that, irrational fear and there are those who deal with that fear by becoming aggressive. That is simply mamallian, not uniquely German.

At least they know that they have this problem and give them some credit for acknowledging a failing. You must not realise how hard a thing that is for them to do.
14:57 February 27, 2012 by Craptastic
I second your derision there, Dizz. Almirante, you need to sweep your own stoop.
03:18 March 7, 2012 by Jeff10
When will Turkey hold memorials for millions of Europeans killed by the Turks from the 1345 to the late 1800's? What about the Turks' murder of a few million Armenians? When might we expect apologies and handwringing from the Turks for these centuries of murderous brutality?
Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,653
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd