Some sentences in German sound hard, but they’re repeated so often that they’re easy to remember. Like “Entschuldigen Sie bitte.”
One sentence I’ve read about 10,000 times in the last year is: “Laut der Polizei kann ein fremdenfeindliches Motiv nicht ausgeschlossen worden.” (In English: “According to the police, a xenophobic motive cannot be excluded.”)
Take the case of Saskia, Sascha and Dennis from Salzhemmendorf in Lower Saxony. They tried to burn down the house of a family from Zimbabwe. Before their crime, they were listening to Rechtsrock, i.e. German racist music. Dennis was known in town for giving the Hitler salute on the street. They referred to their hangout as the “Swastika Garage”.
“I don’t have anything against foreigners”, declared Sascha, 25, in court. “I’m apolitical,” the 24-year-old Saskia explained. They want to emphasise they’re not racists. They’re just – well, what exactly?
This brings us to the statistics… In the last year, there were about 1027 attacks on the homes of refugees. This includes 95 cases of arson and 13 bombings. And this isn’t just a problem in Saxony, either. Almost 10 percent of those attacks took place in Berlin, predominantly in the east of the city.
But which of them are right-wing crimes? Not every Nazi will be holding up his right arm and reciting from Hitler’s Mein Kampf while he beats a refugee. Plenty of violent racists think of themselves as “concerned citizens”.
Even so, the police have counted 13,846 right-wing crimes crimes – that’s almost twice as many as in the previous year. This includes 921 acts of violence.
“But wait!” you ask. “Hasn’t left-wing violence increased as well?”
Well… Yes and no. According to the same statistics, there were 965 acts of violence committed by lefties in 2014. But this is one of those statistics that hides more than it reveals. What do we mean by Straftaten (crimes)? How do they count a crime? Even the police admit that left-wing crime stats are inflated – because, according to a Spiegel investigation, a large number of “politically motivated left-wing” crimes involve blockades of neo-Nazi demos, and each particpating demostrator is counted as a criminal.
In the last 25 years, Nazis have murdered at least 178 people in the Federal Republic of Germany. In the same time period, left-wing activists have also committed countless murders – of garbage cans. (Although two people were killed by the RAF, in 1991 and 1993.) There simply is no left-wing violence that can compare with the current wave of right-wing attacks – as Oliver Höfinghoff explained, the problem is that crimes against things are prosecuted much more than crimes against people.
The comedian Marc Uwe-Kling said he doesn’t see a difference between left-wing and right-wing violence. But his kangaroo does: “There is a difference. The latter burn foreigners. And the former burn cars. And burning a car is worse. Because it could have been my car. I don’t own any foreigners!”
The fact is that every attack on a refugee home is a racist crime. And the numbers are exploding.