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Traumatized by Solingen attack, Turkish immigrant family in Germany still reeling from grief, pain

05:57 29 May 2022 Author :  

Traumatized by the 1993 Solingen arson attack in Germany, the Genc family's pain has not eased despite nearly three decades having passed.

A Turkish immigrant home in the German town of Solingen was set ablaze by four young far-right extremists, resulting in the killing of five members of the Genc family amid growing resentment against foreigners in the country after the unification of East and West Germany in 1990.

Three girls, Saime Genc, Hulya Genc, Gulistan Genc, and two women, Hatice Genc and Gursun Ince, were killed in the fire, while 14 others were wounded, including several children.

The victims will be remembered in the racist attack's 29th anniversary in an event on Sunday.

In the town of Solingen in western Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia, the Genc home on Untere Werner Street was set on fire by four racist killers on May 29, 1993.

Three of the assailants were sentenced to 10 years in prison, with two of them later released early with a reduced sentence for good behavior, while a fourth got 15 years. Currently, all assailants are of prison.

All four, whose identities had been kept secret, have since continued to live their lives in Germany.

Assailants Markus Gartmann, Felix Kohnen, Christian Reher, and Christian Buchholz were released after serving their prison sentences.

Deadly attack targeting Turkish immigrants

On Nov. 23, 1992, the town of Molln in northern Germany became the scene of the country's first deadly arson attack, resulting in three people from the Aslan family burning to death.

Perpetrated by far-right extremists targeting immigrants, it was followed by dozens of similar attacks in the 1990s.

Turkish nationals Bahide Arslan and her two granddaughters, Yeliz and Ayse, died after firebombs were thrown into their home by neo-Nazis, sparking fear among the Turkish immigrant community.

In a separate incident, nine people, among them four of Turkish origin, were killed by a German far-right extremist who attacked two cafes in the western town of Hanau, near Frankfurt, in February 2020.

The perpetrator, Tobias R., allegedly killed himself and his mother in the immediate aftermath of the attack. He was found to have conversed with other far-right extremists and/or racists on issues of racism and conspiracy theories via the Internet.

At least 218 innocent people have been killed in Germany by neo-Nazi violence since 1989, according to the Amadeu Antonio Foundation.

The country has witnessed growing racism in recent years, fueled by far-right parties exploiting fears over the refugee crisis and terrorism.

Right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis carried out 1,042 violent attacks last year targeting immigrants, refugees, or political opponents, according to the German Interior Ministry. At least 590 people were injured in those attacks.

German state authorities have long been under criticism for underestimating the far-right threat and not seriously investigating crimes committed by right-wing extremists./aa

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