V30 years ago, in the Rostock district of Lichtenhagen, crowds of people gathered day after day on the meadow in front of the prefab building they call the Sunflower House. They clapped and shouted xenophobic slogans. Hundreds rioted, attacked the house and the police, and several thousand cheered them on. Wolfgang Richter later spoke of a “football stadium atmosphere”. He was the city’s immigration officer.
Finally, Molotov cocktails flew and there was a fire in the stairway where around 120 Vietnamese, a television crew and judges were waiting. They managed to escape over the roof. It seems like a miracle that no one died. And yet there are victims: all the people who have had to see the mob’s hatred directed at them. Fearing for their lives indoors as the smoke rose up the hallways.