The SDP politician is the first member of the federal government to visit the city in the eastern German state of Saxony after the death of a 35-year-old German and the right-wing protests which followed.
Afterward laying down the flowers, Giffey remained visibly moved at the place where the man was stabbed last Sunday.
“I opened the newspaper and I knew I had to come here,” said Giffey before a meeting with civil society representatives, added that she wanted to “hear what you need in your so important commitment to democracy and cohesion.”
The crime suspects are two asylum applicants from Iraq and Syria, who are now in custody. The two are suspected of stabbing 35-year-old carpenter Daniel H. to death after what police called an “altercation” in which three other men were wounded less seriously.
Following their Sunday and Monday evenings, street violence broke out, in which mobs launched random street attacks against people they took to be foreigners, including an Afghan, a Syrian and a Bulgarian man.
After being heavily outnumbered by thousands of protesters, some of whom gave Hitler salutes, police called in reinforcements from other states and federal police Thursday.
“We won't tolerate hooligans and violent far-right criminals taking over the streets,” said regional interior minister Roland Woller.
Tensions risked being inflamed further by a news report Thursday that the Iraqi suspect in the murder case, named as Ibrahim A. aged 22, had avoided deportation despite a lengthy criminal record.
Since arriving in 2015 he had reportedly received a suspended seven-month jail term for assault and been charged with other offences, including taking illegal drugs across national borders, fraud and property damage, Bild reported.