BONN (Jul. 24)
Ignatz Bubis, the chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, has sharply criticized “the light hand” with which German authorities handled a case of a group of Skinheads who on Saturday night desecrated the memorial site at the former concentration camp of Buchenwald.
The group of 22 skinheads arrived at Buchenwald by bus from the nearby towns of Erfurt and Gera in the central German state of Thuringia. They soon started running wild through the camp, chanting Nazi slogans and throwing stones.
When one worker at the memorial site tried to stop them, they threatened to burn her to death. No one was hurt in the rioting, but several monuments were lightly damaged.
The woman worker managed to summon the police, who interrogated the group, but later released all but one.
Bubis said in an interview that if the police had handled the case as a “severe disruption of public order,” as it is phrased in the German law books, or as one involving the use of Nazi slogans or threats of violence, all 22 suspects would have remained in custody.
“The way the authorities have handled this case and others is an open invitation to repeat the vandalism,” said Bubis.
Some 70,000 people were either murdered in Buchenwald during the Holocaust or transferred from there to other death camps.