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Neo-Nazi pepper sprays Polish WWII survivors
A memorial for forced workers in Bremen, similar to that in Bergedorf. Photo:DPA

Neo-Nazi pepper sprays Polish WWII survivors

Published: 23 Sep 2012 13:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Sep 2012 13:54 GMT+02:00

A neo-Nazi attacked former Third Reich forced labourers and other guests at the inauguration of a memorial near Hamburg on Friday, covering them with pepper spray before being overpowered and arrested.

Seven of the Polish delegates, which included elderly survivors of Hitler’s forced labour policies in Poland, needed hospital treatment after being hit with the pepper spray.

Police arrested a 42-year-old man identified only as Frank A., after the attack at a factory in Bergedorf near Hamburg where forced labourers were used during World War II.

Around 200 guests and families had gathered for the dedication of a memorial, when the Bergedorfer Zeitung newspaper said the well-built man wearing a leather jacket rushed at the people seated in the first row.

He was easily overwhelmed by police and arrested. Police said that the man, known to them as a far-right activist, was also suffering from mental health problems.

"After he had been arrested he appeared very calm," one officer involved in the arrest told the newspaper.

The injured forced labourers in Germany during the war and their relatives, were at the end of a week-long visit, with the unveiling of the memorial intended as a highlight.

"These people should have experienced a belated recognition of their terrible personal story in Germany," said Angelika Schmidt, a local pastor who had been addressing the crowd when Frank A. attacked. "Instead of that, they were once again mistreated."

The Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper reported that the delegation returned home on Saturday. Project leader of the visit programme David Rojkowski said their overall experience of the week had been a good one.

"This terrible incident on the last day cannot overshadow all the good experiences," he said.

Frank A. was recently fined €3,000 for sending extremist literature to imprisoned neo-Nazi Horst Mahler, the newspaper said.

The Local/rc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:14 September 23, 2012 by marimay
How disgusting. Wheres the outrage? Oh yeah, this site is infested with closet neo-nazis.
19:50 September 23, 2012 by IchBinKönig
@marimay

No doubt, if I have to read another anti-Semitic socialists opinion on this site I'm going to Vom.
22:00 September 23, 2012 by wood artist
Sadly this reminds me of the entry in the rememberance book at Buchenwald..."Great jog, Hitler...88."

While the man may be mentally ill, his act is clearly thought out and he deserves some significant punishment. Cloaking actions like this behind a claim of "mental illness" is not acceptable.

wa
23:43 September 23, 2012 by Onlythetruth
Jesus said "The poor you will always have with you.". It seems as if he could have said the same thing about the nazis. Some people never learn.
05:35 September 24, 2012 by wenddiver
Since he likes forced labor so much I would sentence him to 6 years of it for each person he sprayed. What a shame that he ruined a chance for Germany to put it's best foot forward with these old people.
07:14 September 24, 2012 by Dicken-Mohmed
Sad to see some people wanting to live back in the past. Unfortunately, the Nazi part of German history is big scar on the psyche in this world. Media keeps it alive and makes it worse.

Pray of Peace and Love!
10:21 September 24, 2012 by Zobirdie
This is just pathetic and sad. Those poor, elderly people.
11:26 September 24, 2012 by royce44
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:03 September 25, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Disgraceful. These poor people willing to put history behind them and this happens to them. How was a known right wing activist left near them in the first place? He should be made do hard labour in Poland for his crime.
17:42 September 25, 2012 by M Australian
Despicable!

Unfortunately nazi (there is nothing neo about these drags of society) actions, marches, propaganda is still tolerated in Germany of 2012.

Dig into the archives of many German companies and you will find (ab)use of forced labour. Man to date have simply wallpapered this stain in their corporate history over. Hugo Boss only apologised late last year!
20:44 September 25, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
and whilst apologising they are availing of under age labour in Asia. These corporations are simply dirty. No morals attached to maintaining or bettering the bottom line.
21:12 September 25, 2012 by Englishted
Well "PNWDev" who are you going to blame this on?

The Poles for being there? the Brits for not guarding them? the U.S.A. for being to late?

I hope they deal with this low life basket in a harsh a way as the law allows.

But I am sure the people of Hamburg are ashamed of what occurred and went out of their way to make the guests welcomed as most Germans would.
19:20 October 1, 2012 by alf2
Isn't it about time Poland and Russia erected a few memorials to dead Germans?
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