Monday, December 9, 2013
- Germany is determined to curb right extremist and xenophobic violence, that has plagued the country for the last 10 years, and led to the murder of an immigrant from Mozambique in June.
This was underlined by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Thursday, when he paid his own tribute, at the memorial marking the spot where 39-year old Alberto Adriano was beaten to death in the eastern German town of Dessau.
Laying a wreath of yellow roses, Schroeder pledged to redouble efforts to weed out racist violence by neo-Nazi youth.
Their idol is Adolf Hitler, the man who managed to become the ruler of Germany by destroying all democratic institutions under the garb of ‘national socialism’, and who triggered the Second World War II (1939-45) and gassed millions of Jewish and Polish people to death.
This mass genocide was aimed at preserving racial purity of the German people.
The German chancellor’s tribute to the latest victim of racism came a day after a state court sentenced a 24-year old man to life in prison and his two 16-year old neo-nazi accomplices to nine years each.
Schroeder praised the court for rapidly sentencing the three, and said he hoped the convictions would act as a warning that Germany would no longer tolerate racism in its society.
“This was an appropriate punishment for an abominable crime,” he said.
He expressed the hope that the sentences would send a signal to the international community that Germany was serious in its commitment to stamping out racism.
The court’s verdict culminated in a case that was punctuated by remarks about racial hatred.
During the trial, to which general public was not admitted, one of the accused said he did not “give a damn” about what happened to the victim, reported Germany’s prestigious daily newspaper ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’.
One of the 16-year olds responded to the question about his motives for the attack by saying, after a long pause, “I hate niggers.”
In reading his verdict, Chief Justice Albrecht Henning, said the three had killed because Adriano was black. “The basic law in Germany speaks of dignity of all people, not just of white Germans,” he added.
Henning noted that, in the past, each defendant had demonstrated his right-wing extremist convictions. One of them had the letters SS, the abbreviation of the elite corps of Hitler’s Nazi party, tattooed on his head.
All three listened to music with lyrics like “Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, That’s where we’ll bump off those Jews again”.
Auschwitz, Dachau and Buchenwald were the concentration camps to which the Hitlerite regime transported persons of Jewish faith and perpetrated one of the worst genocidal crimes in the history of humankind.
The judge also pointed to the social context of the case. The number of right-wing extremism crimes is on the rise, and there are some 9,000 violence-prone neo-Nazis in Germany, half of whom live in the five eastern German states, he said.
Last year alone, three people in Germany were killed by right- wing extremists, he added.
The German Government says it has recorded 30 deaths resulting from racial violence since reunification of two Germanys in 1990. According to human rights groups, however, the true number may be closer to 100.
Against this backdrop, the German government is considering an appeal to the country’s highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court, to outlaw the neo-Nazi NPD.
Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has set up a new Federal Border Guard (BGS) hotline against right-wing extremism.
The hotline will be available countrywide as of Sep 1. By calling 01805 – 234566 people will be able to report to the Federal Border Guard (BGS) right-wing extremist activities, threats, and acts of violence being carried out in or around railway facilities.
Interior Minister, Otto Schily, has also ordered that the BGS assume a more active role in curbing the activities of right-wing extremists on trains and at railway stations.
Among other steps taken is the establishment of a special police unit called MEGA, which is an abbreviation for Mobile Task Force Against Extremism and Xenophobia.
MEGA officers, some of them in uniform, some plainclothes, are encouraged to engage young people – most prone to fall prey to neo- Nazi ideology – in conversation. They know better than almost anyone else where youths with right-wing tendencies meet.
Detlef Schuenke, head of the state security commission at the Oranienburg police headquarters in eastern Germany, says the MEGA unit’s members want to positively influence the attitudes of young people who do not yet have a fixed world view.
They also support projects designed to counter right-wing extremism, violence and hatred of foreigners.
On a tour of eastern German states, chancellor Schroeder met with MEGA officers on Wednesday in Wittenberge, northwest of Berlin. They assured him that the campaign against neo-Nazis was having an impact.