12.05.2021

The fire in Solingen

Arson in 1993 the house in Solingen, where she lived, a Turkish family, is the culmination of xenophobic attitudes in Germany in the early 90-ies. 25 years later the country is still trying to learn from this crime.25 years have passed since then, as of may 29, 1993, four right-wing has set the house on fire in the German city of Solingen, where she lived a large Turkish family. The fire broke out about two o’clock in the morning attackers poured gasoline from the canister front door and wooden panelling in the stairwell. In ten minutes the whole house was engulfed in flames. It burned to death five people – three women and two girls. The youngest of them, saime genç, was 4 years old, the oldest, Gurson inje – 27 years. The Hatice genç was 18 years old, Gulustan Ozturk – 12, Julie genç – 9 years. Eight people suffered burns of varying severity.

Xenophobia have no regional boundaries

In the early 1990-ies the slogan “Foreigners out!” could be heard in various regions of Germany, many Germans did not hide their xenophobic attitudes. The reasons for this were very diverse. In Eastern Germany, for example, after the unification was abolished the socialist planned economy that were previously controlled by the state. Millions of people in the former GDR were unemployed, feeling like second-class citizens, and the foreigners who lived there was a perfect fit for the role of “scapegoat”.

Until 1993 the German politicians preferred to believe that the hatred of foreigners are mostly residents of the Eastern Federal States, although since 1991, the crimes of xenophobia occurred in the East and in the West of Germany. But the events of 29 may 1993 in Solingen in the West German Federal state of North Rhine – Westphalia clearly demonstrated that the problem of ethnic hatred has no regional boundaries.

“We are obliged to remember the victims of the crime in Solingen”

In commemorative events held in düsseldorf and Solingen on Tuesday, may 29, and dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the tragedy, was attended by family members genç, Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel (Angela Merkel), the President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Frank-Walter Steinmeier), foreign Minister of Germany Heiko Wt (Heiko Maas) and other German and Turkish policy.

“Our family does not remember this tragedy,” says Mevlude Genc, who lost in that tragic night two daughters, two granddaughters and niece. The woman managed to escape due to the fact that at the time of the fire, it was on the first floor of the house. “I never tell my children and grandchildren. If you continue to re-open old wounds they will never heal, and will bring new pain,” – says Mevlude. According to her, she doesn’t want, constantly Recalling this tragedy, her children began to experience the hatred of the society in which they live.

But society should not forget the tragedy in Solingen, said the foreign Minister of Germany Heiko Maas. “We are obliged to remember the victims of this horrible crime. We must not forget, to look away or be silent”, – said the head of the German foreign Ministry. The Minister of justice Katarina Barley (Barley Katarina) warned against xenophobia and racism. “Shameful is the fact that 25 years after the crime in Solingen people in Germany are still forced to hear threats or become victims of attacks because of their origin, religion or sexual orientation,” said Barley, stressing that neither politicians nor the public should not allow this to happen.

“The hostile attitude toward immigrants is unacceptable,”

The President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for a decisive struggle against xenophobia and right-wing radicalism. According to him, it must be remembered that “the duty of our society and our organizations is to protect all citizens regardless of their origin.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel, in turn, said that the violation of a number of taboos from the right-wing populists is unacceptable, and that this could result in a new wave of violence. Right-wing populism, unfortunately, not gone, said Merkel. “The one who in your own words, sows violence, ready to shake the violence” and “a dangerous play with fire,” she said.

The head of the German government called unacceptable the hostility to asylum seekers or migrants. “Such crimes are unacceptable. They are a disgrace to our country, and we cannot and will not put up with it”, – said Merkel.

Changes in the law on asylum

Crime in Solingen on 29 may 1993 occurred three days after the German Bundestag has made a significant constraint to the country’s law on asylum. Right then the coalition consisting of the CDU/CSU and the Free democratic party (FDP), with the support of the opposition social Democrats (SPD) has made changes to the Constitution. Prior to this, article 16 of the Basic law of Germany provided for an unlimited right for asylum. The introduction of the restrictions was an attempt to regulate the number of migrants pouring into the country in the early 1990-ies.

For a long time the annual number of asylum-seekers in Germany has not exceeded 100 thousand. In 1990, it suddenly doubled and amounted to 200 thousand. Two years later it increased more than two times, reaching 438 191. At this time a great success in the elections has reached the right-wing party in Western Germany. In 1992 the far-right the Republican party received 12 percent in a state election in prosperous Baden-württemberg. Later the far-right National democratic party of Germany (NPD), even managed to enter the land parliaments in the East of the country.

Sentiment in Germany – 25 years ago today

Anetta Kahane (Anetta Kahane), head of the Berlin Foundation for combating racism name Amadeu Antonio draws Parallels between the explosive mood in Germany 25 years ago and the current situation. The question “how many refugees can we take?” is inextricably linked with another question: “and whether it will lead to the dominance of foreigners?”. The fact that foreigners and refugees are perceived by society as uninvited guests and foreign elements, “badly poisons the mood,” says Kahane.

The situation that prevailed in German society shortly after the unification of the country, cost the life of the man whose name is the Berlin Fund to combat racism. In November 1990, the native of Angola, Amadeu Antonio was beaten to death with baseball bats in Berlin by a group of right-wing adolescents. Five of them were sentenced to a maximum five years in prison, some got off with conditional punishment.

Solingen – stamp in the history of postwar Germany

The sentences of the accused in the arson of a house in Solingen was much stricter. Four young men aged 16 to 23 years who committed a crime in 1995 was charged with the murder of five people and attempted murder of 14 people, arson with aggravating circumstances and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment from 10 to 15 years. “Solingen will forever remain a stigma, the most monstrous manifestation of xenophobia in the history of postwar Germany,” said attorney Reiner of Brussow (Rainer Brüssow), representing the family of genç.

Anetta Kahane from the Fund of the name Amadeu Antonio would be happy if German policy left unchanged the rules on asylum, in force in the country until 1993. She believes that those who stood for the then amendments to the Constitution were motivated by a very specific pattern of behavior: “If people are racist react to migrants, it is necessary to reduce the number of migrants arriving”. And that, in her opinion, was a “very bad signal” – including, to the Western lands of the country, because until the West German society coped quite well with the migration process, says Kahane. But this, in her opinion, was destroyed proved disastrous debate on toughening the law on asylum.

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