Germany sees drastic rise in racist crime

Crime figures released by the Interior Ministry on Wednesday showed sharp rises in xenophobic crimes in 2014, with anti-Semitism and attacks on refugee homes causing particular alarm.

Germany sees drastic rise in racist crime
A refugee home was burned down in April 2015. Photo: DPA

The figures presented by Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière in Berlin showed that 203 attacks took place against refugee homes in 2014, up from 58 in 2013. Far right groups have been behind the vast majority (175) of these attacks.

Last year also saw a significant increase in anti-Semitic crime. The number of reported incidents rose to 1,596, a 25 percent increase on 2013.

“This development is worrying and must be stopped,” said De Maizière. “Germany is a peaceful and open country. We want to live here in an atmosphere of peace and mutual respect.”

The ministry's report came a day after German representatives admitted to a United Nations committee on racial discrimination that the country still had a long way to go to stamp out racism.

Politically motivated crime in general is on the rise, the figures showed. More than 3,300 cases of politically motivated violence were reported in 2014, a record since figures for this crime were first collected in 2001.

The total number of crimes reported to the police rose in 2014 to more than 6 million cases, a two percent increase on 2013.

The number of burglaries reported meanwhile hit a 16-year high. More than 150,000 incidents were reported to police in 2014, a 1.8 percent increase on the previous year.

“I am greatly concerned by the rise in crime,” said the interior minister. “Particularly worrying is the rise in burglary, but also crimes of deception and narcotics criminality which have once again increased.

But there was some good news in the statistics.

Sexual abuse of children fell back 2.4 percent.

Car theft and violent crime also decreased.


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.