30 years after the racist arson attack in Mölln, the events of that time were remembered in Schleswig-Holstein on Wednesday. Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) called for tough action against “racist hate speech and violence”. This is the “reminder” that came from the crime at the time, Faeser explained in a statement. “The action of the right-wing extremists in Mölln did not come out of nowhere, the hatred against people of other origins prepared the ground for them.” The victims would “not be forgotten”, added Faeser.
Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) wrote on Twitter that the racist arson attack had shaken the trust of many people with a migration background in German society and politics. He will never forget “that my parents were also considering putting a ladder on the window for ’emergencies'”.
Three dead, nine injured
On the night of November 23, 1992, young neo-Nazis threw incendiary devices into two houses in Mölln, Schleswig-Holstein, where people of Turkish origin lived. Bahide Arslan, 51, and two of her granddaughters, 10-year-old Yeliz Arslan and 14-year-old Ayse Yilmaz, died. Nine people were injured.
A memorial service was planned for the late afternoon in Mölln, which would include an interreligious service and a wreath-laying ceremony. State and federal politicians also wanted to take part, including the Vice President of the Bundestag and former Federal Commissioner for Integration, Aydan Özoguz (SPD).
The Schleswig-Holstein state parliament commemorated the murders in Mölln on Wednesday morning in Kiel. “We declare our solidarity with those affected by right-wing and racist violence,” said a joint resolution that all five factions had agreed on. The state parliament feels deep sympathy for the physically and mentally injured survivors and the relatives of the victims of the arson attacks, who still have to live with the memories of these crimes today. “We deeply regret the pain caused by the attacks.” The FDP MP and former Minister of Economic Affairs Bernd Buchholz spoke of a “black day” in the history of the state of Schleswig-Holstein.
The crime happened after reunification, when there was a whole wave of racist attacks and riots. The political debate in Germany at the time was dominated by sometimes polemical public debates about asylum policy and the influx of civil war refugees from Yugoslavia, which was just breaking up.
A few months before the crime in Mölln, there had been xenophobic riots in Rostock-Lichtenhagen for days at the end of August 1992. A few months later, five people were murdered in a right-wing extremist arson attack in Solingen, North Rhine-Westphalia. As early as September 1991, a home for asylum seekers in Saarlouis was set on fire and a man from Ghana was killed. More than thirty years later, in April of this year, a suspect was arrested who now has to answer for murder before the Koblenz Higher Regional Court.