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CRIME

Germany sees record level of neo-Nazi violence in 2007

A record number of people in Germany were injured in right-wing extremist attacks in 2007, according to former German government spokesman Uwe-Karsten Heye.

Germany sees record level of neo-Nazi violence in 2007
Photo: dpa

Heye, a co-founder of Gesicht Zeigen!, an organization working against right-wing violence, said in Berlin on Monday that 2007 was a new “negative record” year, with some 600 injuries attributed to racist attacks. Since German reunification in 1990, Heye said 130 asylum seekers, immigrants, and homeless people have been killed in such crimes by right-wing extremists.

Eastern German states have experienced the greatest rise in neo-Nazi attacks, Heye said. In the state of Brandenburg, which surrounds the city-state of Berlin, there were 11 attacks on immigrant-run businesses in 2007.

“Behind this lies the neo-Nazi’s goal-oriented strategy to destroy livelihoods and drive out immigrants,” he said, adding that the financial costs are immense. “Nazis destroy jobs too,” he said.

Heye spoke at an event to kick off a Gesicht Zeigen! campaign against racism. Some 120 events in March call for more civic courage against right-wing activity.

Heye, who was government spokesman between 1998 to 2002, criticized the lack of government spending on the victims of right-wing extremist crimes, particularly emphasizing their need for professional psychological care.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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