Anniversary Rostock-Lichtenhagen: Scholz: Fighting racism every day

30 years ago, right-wing violent criminals attacked accommodation for asylum seekers and Vietnamese workers in Rostock.

Anniversary Rostock-Lichtenhagen: Scholz: Fighting racism every day

30 years ago, right-wing violent criminals attacked accommodation for asylum seekers and Vietnamese workers in Rostock. The mob raged for four days and the police were unable to stop them. On the anniversary, Chancellor Scholz warns against right-wing hate speech every day.

On the 30th anniversary of the racist riots in Rostock-Lichtenhagen, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on citizens to fight hate speech and racism every day. The SPD politician called the attacks at the time a "terrible act". From the point of view of Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, right-wing extremism is the greatest threat to democracy today. The Greens and the Left also warned to keep the memory alive.

From August 22 to 26, 1992, right-wing perpetrators attacked the so-called sunflower house in the Rostock district of Lichtenhagen, which housed the central reception center for asylum seekers and Vietnamese contract workers. Stones and incendiary devices were thrown, racist slogans were shouted, and the fire brigade was obstructed. The residents were only lucky enough to get to safety from a fire. The police failed to stop the riots.

Interior Minister Faeser declared that this was one of the worst racist excesses in post-war German history. "To this day, it is shocking that hardly anyone took action against the mob." Many onlookers even applauded and goaded the attackers. "The right-wing extremist misanthropy that flared up in Rostock-Lichtenhagen became a beacon, as did the hesitant and half-hearted behavior of the security forces and the lack of empathy in politics and society."

Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth recalled that the racist riots at the time had triggered a whole chain of "xenophobic violent excesses". "We must and should keep alive the memory of this dark chapter of the German present," said the Greens politician. This included places of remembrance as well as scientific institutions for the documentation and processing of right-wing terrorism.

The managing director of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, Timo Reinfrank, called for a thorough investigation of the riots. Politicians and the police failed massively at the time, he explained. The pogrom is associated with decades of trivialization of right-wing extremist violence. In addition, the racist violence had an effect far beyond Rostock. "The pogrom was not a local event," added the head of the Democracy Initiative.

In a joint statement with the refugee organization Pro Asyl, the foundation also warned against seeing racism as a problem of the past. Refugee shelters are still a target for racist violence, both said. There is still a lack of political will "to take consistent action against racist violence".

Left leader Janine Wissler said the incidents represented a dramatic failure of the state. She named the unsuccessful police operation, but also the comparatively mild penalties for the few convicted perpetrators. Wissler recalled that there had been a heated debate about the right to asylum at the time. This was tightened a few months later in the so-called asylum compromise between the Helmut Kohl government and the SPD.

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