How was life in 1992

Mölln 1992: Neo-Nazis murder three people

Status: 11/22/2019 2:12 p.m.
Devastating attack: Molotov cocktails were blown into two houses in Mölln's old town on November 23, 1992. Three people die.

It is the night of November 23, 1992 that changes the face of the tranquil "Eulenspiegel-Stadt" Mölln in Schleswig-Holstein. Lars C., then 19, and Michael P., 25, throw incendiary devices into two houses on Ratzeburger Strasse and Mühlenstrasse that are inhabited by Turkish families. Two girls die in the house on Mühlenstrasse - ten-year-old Yeliz Arslan and 14-year-old Ayse Yilmaz - as well as 51-year-old Bahide Arslan. Nine people are seriously injured in the fires. An anonymous caller contacts the police and fire brigade to point out the burning houses - and ends his remarks with the words "Heil Hitler". Lars C. and Michael P., who are assigned to the skinhead scene, are arrested a few days after the crime.

Funeral service with more than 10,000 people

The attack in Mölln caused a sensation worldwide - and the "Eulenspiegel-Stadt" became a symbol of murderous xenophobia. All over Germany people are protesting with fairy lights against growing right-wing radicalism. More than 10,000 people took part in the memorial service for the victims on November 27, 1992 in Hamburg. The investigation into the arson attack attracts the federal prosecutor's office - a novelty. The attack was intended to "impair the internal security of the Federal Republic of Germany," Federal Prosecutor General Alexander von Stahl justified the decision.

"Part of a chain of events"

It was only in August 1992 that violent riots against asylum seekers broke out in Rostock.

There had been attacks against foreigners in Germany before that. Only three months earlier, the riots in Rostock-Lichtenhagen had caused horror: Right-wing rioters had besieged an overcrowded asylum seekers 'home in the prefabricated suburb and finally threw incendiary devices at a foreigners' hostel there to the applause of residents. A year earlier, a foreigners' home in Hoyerswerda, Saxony, was attacked with incendiary devices and steel balls, and several people were injured. "Mölln was not a singular incident, but part of a chain of events," said Mayor Jan Wiegels later. Right-wing extremist parties celebrated electoral successes after reunification, and a debate raged on asylum policy.

Violence against foreigners reaches a new level

With the attack in Mölln, violence against minorities reached a new level: It was the first racially motivated attack in reunified Germany in which people died. This was followed by the fatal attacks in Solingen in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 29, 1993, in which five people were killed. At this time, many Turks wonder whether Germany can still be home for them. The residents of the houses set on fire in Mölln had lived in Germany for years, and one of the girls who was killed was born in Germany. The other girl had visited her grandmother.

Mölln faces up to its past

After the attack, there were demonstrations against xenophobia all over Germany.

After the attacks, Mölln found himself exposed to accusations of having watched the goings-on of right-wing extremist youths for too long. After all, the right attitude of the two perpetrators was known in the region. On December 8, 1993, the Schleswig-Holstein Higher Regional Court sentenced Michael P. to life imprisonment for triple murder and multiple attempted murder, Lars C. was sentenced to ten years in prison under juvenile justice. The court regards it as proven that both defendants wanted the two houses to be burned down, not just accepted. Both perpetrators are released after a few years - prematurely. Lars C. is released from prison in 2000, Michael P. in 2007.

Association against right-wing extremist excesses

Since then, the name Mölln has always been associated with the attacks - and the city is aggressively dealing with this dark chapter of its history. A memorial plaque and a wooden beam with stylized flames on the wall of the fire house in Mühlenstrasse are reminiscent of the drama. The building bears the name of Bahide Arslan. Shortly after the attacks, the association "Living with each other" was founded, with the aim of improving the coexistence of German and foreign fellow citizens in the region. He also wants to raise awareness about right-wing extremist excesses and encourage young people to adopt a democratic approach to life.

City is committed to a cosmopolitan society

So that people can feel safe again, the city has long been striving for a good togetherness. According to Mayor Wiegels, they maintain a friendly relationship with the Turkish community and try to contribute to a peaceful and cosmopolitan society. "Above all, the politically responsible are aware that we have a special responsibility here. Such terrible events as in 1992 must not take place again, especially not in our city," said Wiegels in 2017 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the victims' commemoration.

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Schleswig-Holstein Magazine | 11/23/2019 | 19:30 o'clock