• Germany edition
 
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

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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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?
Today's headlines
Pilots' strike over, but disruption continues
Passengers in Hannover check departure boards showing cancelled Germanwings flights. Photo: DPA

Pilots' strike over, but disruption continues

UPDATE: Germanwings pilots have ended their six-hour strike which grounded 116 flights and up to 15,000 passengers of Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings on Friday. READ  

Man narrowly escapes unwelcome drop-in
Emergency services use a crane to lift the fallen crane in Cologne. Photo: DPA

Man narrowly escapes unwelcome drop-in

A Cologne resident was pinned to his bed after a 40-metre construction crane toppled onto his home early on Friday. READ  

'Further sanctions' could hit Russia, says Merkel
Merkel looking grave at Thursday's West Balkan conference in Berlin. Photo: DPA

'Further sanctions' could hit Russia, says Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that European leaders will discuss the worsening Ukraine crisis and possible further sanctions against Russia at a weekend summit. READ  

UK-Germany rivalries live again in Champs League
Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm with fellow World Cup champion Bastian Schweinsteiger. Photo: DPA

UK-Germany rivalries live again in Champs League

The 2014-15 Champions League draw yesterday brought déjà-vu for English and German clubs as old opponents found themselves facing off once again. READ  

German of the Week
Animal activist fights off murder threats
Photo: DPA

Animal activist fights off murder threats

Friedrich Mülln has been dragged through the courts and threatened with murder during his years of animal rights activism. His latest court case was in Munich this week but he tells The Local he has no plans to give up the fight. READ  

Has Merkel's Russia policy failed?
A Russian tank at a military parade in Moscow in May. Photo: DPA

Has Merkel's Russia policy failed?

A foreign policy expert in Chancellor Angela Merkel's own party said on Thursday Russia was fighting a "war" in Ukraine. Despite dozens of phone calls to President Vladimir Putin, Merkel's policy of restraint seems to have completely failed. READ  

Arson attack causes Berlin train chaos
Passengers look at messages about the damage this morning at Ostkreuz. Photo: DPA

Arson attack causes Berlin train chaos

Travellers in southeast Berlin can expect disruption on the S-Bahn until Sunday morning after an arson attack damaged a cable duct on Thursday morning, affecting services on six lines. READ  

Germany posts weaker job figures
Photo: DPA

Germany posts weaker job figures

Unemployment in Germany remained steady in August, official data showed on Thursday, as clouds continue to build over Europe's biggest economy and the eurozone as a whole. READ  

Police suspect arsonists were behind mosque fire
The facade of the Mevlana mosque was badly damaged by smoke from the fire. Photo: DPA

Police suspect arsonists were behind mosque fire

UPDATE: Investigators now believe a fire which damaged a mosque in Berlin earlier in August was started deliberately. READ  

Berlin struggles to sell former Goebbels villa
The Haus am Bogensee. Photo: DPA

Berlin struggles to sell former Goebbels villa

After two failed attempts, Berlin is trying again to sell the sprawling estate and villa once known as Joseph Goebbels' illicit love nest, but so far, nobody's buying. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten of the oddest things found by German border control
Photo: Gerkan, Marg and Partners/Tegel Projekt GmbH/J. Mayer
Berlin
How will Berlin look in five years' time?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The best of Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit in 14 pictures
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany sends burgers and sausages to Kurds
Photo: Matthias Kock
National
Tribes, ties and a movie: A German's Afghan life
Photo: DPA
Gallery
10 things to do before summer in Germany is really over
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,701
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd