The Jewish community in Germany has joined a chorus of outrage over a neo-Nazi attack this week that killed a Turkish woman and two girls.
The deaths resulted from an arson attack early Monday in the northern city of Moelln. It coincided with news reports that two skinheads had confessed to the murder of a German they thought was a Jew.
The Turkish woman and two young relatives died when vandals set on fire the building where the family lived shortly after midnight. Police were alerted to the fire by an anonymous caller, who ended his message with the slogan, “Heil Hitler.”
Nine more people were injured in fires at two separate buildings in the town, located near the former border between East and West Germany. All the victims were Turkish nationals seeking asylum in Germany.
The caller said the attacks would continue until Germany became “pure.”
The German government released a sharply worded statement denouncing the attack and saying it would take all necessary measures to protect foreigners living on German soil.
The federal state prosecutor’s office has taken over investigation of the attack.
A spokesman said the government viewed the incident “with outrage, bitterness and sorrow. We condemn it with the utmost vigor.”
All the major political parties joined in the condemnation. The opposition Social Democrat Party called for an urgent meeting of security agencies to deal with neo-Nazi violence. The Greens charged the government with procrastination in dealing with a wave of right-wing extremism.
At the same time, the Turkish Embassy urged vigorous government measures to protect an estimated 3 million Turkish citizens in Germany. It said Turkish workers had contributed enormously to German prosperity.
Meanwhile, a French radio report said two skinheads have admitted to murdering a man they thought was a Jew in a bar in the German town of Wuppertal, near Dusseldorf.
The two, ages 18 and 24, beat the man up, poured liquor over him and set him afire in the incident, which took place Nov. 13. In a car provided by the owner of the pub, they drove the man across the border to the Netherlands, where he was found the next day in Venlo.
All the victim’s ribs were broken, according to a forensic report. The Dutch daily De Telegraaf gave the man’s name as Karl-Heinz Rohn and said he was not Jewish.
Reacting to the latest incidents, the Anti-Defamation League in New York urged the federal and state governments of Germany to move ahead quickly and effectively on new measures to combat neo-Nazi violence against foreigners and Jews.
Melvin Salberg, national chairman of the ADL, and Abraham Foxman, its national director, said that “what is needed is an immediate and clear stepping-up of law enforcement.”
“The murder of an individual in Wuppertal who was believed to be Jewish highlights the growing danger of skinhead and neo-Nazi activity,” the ADL leaders said.
“The very thought that someone was killed in Germany in our day because of his Jewishness or perceived Jewishness is horrifying and should awaken all Germans to the need for the strongest action.”
The arson at Moelln brings to 16 the number of foreigners murdered by right- wing extremists in Germany this year. It followed government announcements over the weekend of new and tougher measures to crack down on neo-Nazi violence.
The measures were announced as both coalition and opposition parties reported progress in efforts to reach agreement on curbing the flood of refugees entering the country, which they blame for the upsurge in right-wing violence.