Neo-Nazi attacks leave one dead, many scared
A man has died after being attacked by a neo-Nazi in one of two violent attacks on foreigners in Germany over the past few days. The second incident involved members of the Bundeswehr throwing fireworks at a home for refugees.
A known neo-Nazi is thought to have killed a Kazakh man and father-of-two at a Volksfest in southern Bavaria last week, shortly after goading other men of foreign extraction into a fight by hurling racist insults at them.
An autopsy showed the 34-year-old man died in hospital last Thursday as a result of receiving a violent blow to the head, police announced on Monday. The man was attacked when he went to investigate a scuffle between a group of neo-Nazis and other foreigners during the festival in the city of Kaufbeuren near Munich last Wednesday night, police said.
The suspected killer, named only as 36-year-old Falk H. from Thuringia, was arrested at the scene and is being held on suspicion of murder. Last year he came to the attention of the authorities after starting a fight with a DJ who objected to him shouting “Heil Hitler” and giving the Hitler salute at an event.
Although the festival continued over the weekend, the incident shocked the Bavarian city and prompted over 500 inhabitants to attend a silent parade on Saturday.
On that very night, in another part of the country, two drunken soldiers attacked a refugee home with fireworks, in an apparent attempt to burn it down. When inhabitants of the home tried to stop them, the soldiers responded with a torrent of racist abuse and repeatedly showed them the Hitler salute.
The culprits, aged 23 and 25, were arrested nearby the home in the town of Arnstadt, Thuringia, and have since been released. They face charges of incitement and criminal damage.
The attacks come a week after statistics were released suggesting the German army had an estimated 300 far-right extremists in its ranks. Homes for asylum seekers - a frequent focus of violent race hate in the early 1990s – have recently attracted the attention of modern far-right activists.
For example, plans to convert an old school into a home for around 400 refugees in the Marzahn-Hellersdorf area of Berlin has sparked a hate-filled campaign from members of the neo-Nazi NPD party, who swamped a recent information meeting with cat-calls of "Germany for Germans", "No to the home" and "What do I care for others' suffering?”
Some 802 racially-motivated violent crimes were registered last year, in the first increase in four years, according to official statistics released in June this year.