German Lawmaker Tells Israeli of Concern over Recent Attacks

As renewed right-wing attacks on foreigners were reported in several German cities, a German parliamentary leader assured her Israeli counterpart that she shares his concern over the wave of neo-Nazi violence in Germany. Rita Sussmuth, the speaker of the Bundestag, sent a letter Monday to Knesset Speaker Shevah Weiss in which she said she fully understood feelings in Israel over attacks on foreigners in Germany.

Weiss had written her a letter saying the attacks “are very harmful to all of us.”

“There is no need to point out to you that there is naturally a particular sensitivity about such events in Germany,” he had written.

Sussmuth said there is agreement by all parties in the parliament that the right-wing radicals would not undermine the country’s democratic institutions.

The large number of refugees seeking asylum in Germany constitutes a real problem, she said, but under no circumstances could that justify aggression against foreigners.

The Bundestag speaker pointed to the situation caused by the collapse of the Communist regime in East Germany, where the situation “shows all of us we have to immediately react in more sensitive ways to overcome the poison of hatred.”

On Tuesday, the Bundestag condemned the violent attacks against foreigners and urged efficient measures to protect lives of those vulnerable to attack.

Last week, a Jewish leader urged measures to find housing for Jewish families from the former Soviet Union.

Alexander Kogan, chairman of the Jewish community in the federal state of Brandenburg, urged Prime Minister Manfred Stolpe to help locate housing for Jewish families who have been living for more than a year in barracks near Berlin and could easily become the target of violent attacks by neo-Nazis.

Meanwhile, a spate of attacks was reported this week against asylum-seekers. Assaults on refugee hostels were reported in Quedlinburg, in the eastern German state of Upper Saxony; and in the states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Justice Ministry of Brandenburg state said Tuesday it was studying the possibility of banning several neo-Nazi groups that initiated the recent rioting.

The ministry said that especially in the cities of Cottbus and Eisenhuttenstadt, violence has been carefully coordinated by experienced neo- Nazi activists.

In Frankfurt an der Oder, near the Polish border, prosecutors on Monday demanded prison terms of from three to 5### years for three men, ranging in age from 19 to 21, for causing the death of a guest worker from Angola in November 1990. The men had attacked the worker and left him bleeding in the street.

NEXT STORY