BONN (Aug. 30)
Jewish groups have appealed to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to take whatever measures are necessary to curb neo-Nazi violence in the country.
The appeals from the Central Council of German Jews and other German Jewish groups came as anti-immigrant rioting escalated over the weekend throughout eastern Germany.
Israel Radio reported Sunday that Knesset Speaker Shevah Weiss sent a letter to his German counterpart urging an end to the violence.
Weiss, 57, a Holocaust survivor, said he had sent the letter because of “very dark memories” of the past.
Messages of protest to the German chancellor were also sent by B’nai B’rith chapters in Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Cologne.
Thousands marched in an anti-racism protest in Rostock on Saturday after nearly a week of rioting in the northern port city, where neo-Nazis firebombed a hostel for asylum-seekers Aug. 24.
At least 10 new attacks were reported Friday and Saturday on refugee hostels.
Fifteen persons were arrested during attacks on hostels in the states of Brandenberg and Upper Saxony. In Potsdam, capital of Brandenberg, about 100 neo-Nazis took to the streets Friday night, attempting to demolish cars. They were dispersed quickly by large police contingent.
Another focus of extremist right-wing attack was the federal state of Mecklenburg, where Rostock is situated.
While attackers burned down the refugee asylum there, police reportedly had stood idly by, a few hundred yards away, claiming they had insufficient personnel to repel the attackers.
In all but two cases, prompt police intervention prevented the vandals from harming the refugees or causing material damage. Seventeen persons were arrested Saturday in Stendal, in Brandenburg state, for throwing firebombs at a refugee hostel.
In Cottbus, also in Brandenburg, about 200 neo-Nazis attempting to storm a hostel were blocked by heavy police reinforcements who arrested 15 persons.
Police officials have announced they may press charges against some American and French television crews for allegedly asking youngsters to give the Nazi salute for the cameras.
The Jewish community weekly Allgemeine said the behavior of the people of Rostock, many of whom cheered on the neo-Nazi vandals, was reminiscent of the popular backing enjoyed by the Nazis in the 1930s when they launched their anti-Jewish campaign.