A Grim Record (Racist Violence in Brandenburg)

Posted by John Rosenthal

On Sunday, a German citizen of Ethiopian origins was attacked and gravely injured in Potsdam in the German Land of Brandenburg. He is presently in critical condition in an artifically-induced coma. On a recording that the victim left on his wife’s voicemail just before the attack, one of the presumed assailants can be heard yelling "Hey, Nigger!".


In its Wednesday edition (19 April; link in German), the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung provides a grim retrospective of some of the most infamous acts of racist and xenophobic violence in Brandenburg over the last decade and a half: in effect, since German Reunification.

The first victim was the Angolan Amadeu Antonio, who was killed by skinheads in Eberswalde in 1990. The case of the asylum-seekers’ residence in Dolgenbrodt became particularly notorious. It was set on fire in 1992. Residents of the town are alleged to have raised money for the attack. In 1994, a young man from Ghana was gravely injured when he was pushed from a moving train north of Berlin.


In 1996, right-wing extremists* in Mahlow injured a Jamaican-born Briton so gravely that he is since a paraplegic. The same year, skinheads in Trebbin struck an Italian mason with a baseball bat, leaving him crippled. In 1999, the Algerian Omar Ben Noui died from the injuries he sustained while trying to escape from a group of skinheads in Guben. In 2002, a "re-settler"** died after he was struck with a stone weighing some 18 kilograms [40 pounds]. The same year in Potzlow, the 16-year-old Marinus S. died following the abuse to which he was subject by right-wing extremist youth.***


*It is the standard practice of German authorities and the German media to classify the perpetrators of racist and xenophobic violence in Germany as "right-wing". Many of the perpetrators are teenagers or young adults to whom it would be erroneous to attribute any developed political ideology at all. Others come from what should more accurately be called neo-Nazi milieus. Whether it is appropriate to describe Nazi ideology as "right-wing" is highly open to question. (See here, for instance, on the old Trans-Int.)


**So-called "re-settlers" (Spätaussiedler) are immigrants of supposedly – if albeit distant – German origins from Russia and other former Soviet Republics. Despite their supposed German origins, they are largely treated as foreigners by the native German population.


***Marinus Schöberl was a German youngster who was "suspected" by his assailants of being Jewish. (See my "Anti-Semitism and Ethnicity in Europe" for a detailed discussion of the case.)



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