German Neo-nazi Violence Spreads, As Jews Decry the Racist Attacks

Fresh neo-Nazi violence erupted in several towns in eastern Germany on Tuesday as Jewish officials here and abroad condemned the racist attacks.

In Leipzig, a force of more than 100 police was deployed to repel right-wing extremists who threw firebombs at a hostel for foreigners seeking asylum in Germany.

Similar incidents were reported in Cottbus, Eisenhuttenstadt and a number of other towns.

In the northern port city of Rostock, where demonstrators last week burned a hostel housing asylum-seekers, the refugees were moved to a former army camp on the outskirts of town, bringing forth yet more objections from residents of that area.

The violence in Germany has been marked by cheering throngs.

In another development, police are investigating a possible link between the Sunday night bombing of a Holocaust memorial in Berlin and a blast which wounded 16 people in Hanover three days earlier. Police attributed both actions to neo-Nazis.

A German Jewish leader accused the government of encouraging racist and anti- Semitic violence by its lenient stance.

Robert Gutmann, president of the Jewish community of Bavaria, based in Munich, also said further anti-Semitic acts could be expected following the bombing of the Holocaust memorial.

He told the Italian newspaper La Stampa that the German authorities had downplayed the seriousness of the violence at Rostock, especially during the first few nights of the disorders, and had failed to take strong enough countermeasures.

“There were very few arrests and of those many have already been released,” he said.

But German historian Ernst Nolte told La Stampa the attack on the Berlin monument should be considered part of the overall violence “and not a specific sign of anti-Semitism.”

In Rome, Chief Rabbi Elio Toaff said Tuesday that the rise of xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany was a result in part of the country’s reunification. He hoped a majority of Germans would oppose a return to an epoch that would “bring many misfortunes to the Germans.”

The president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Tullia Zevi, said the seriousness of the incidents was heightened by a situation of growing unemployment and economic crisis.

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