Holocaust survivors view German far-right protests with ‘growing concern’

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Holocaust survivors are watching with “growing concern” amid far-right protests and violence against migrants in Germany.

An outbreak of street protests has erupted in the country following the arrest of a Syrian and an Iraqi over the fatal stabbing of a German man in Chemnitz, Saxony.

Hundreds of anti-immigration demonstrators chanting “resistance!” gathered again in the eastern city on Thursday.

Police in Saxony have brought in reinforcements from across the rest of Germany after recent clashes, but the most recent protest saw no new outbreak of violence.

Police officers check street gullies close to the crime scene where a German man was stabbed in Chemnitz, Germany  Holocaust survivors view German far-right protests with ‘growing concern’ skynews chemnitz germany stabbing 4406690
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Police officers continue to investigate the suspected killing

It followed the latest incident of violence against migrants.

A Syrian man was subjected to xenophobic insults and kicked and beaten with an iron chain by three German-speaking men in the northern city of Wismar on Wednesday.

He was released from hospital after treatment for a fractured nose and bruises to his face and upper body, police said.

The continuing turmoil, which has seen protesters raise Nazi salutes, has focused attention on the role of far-right groups in Germany.

CHEMNITZ, GERMANY - AUGUST 27: A man raises his arm in a Heil Hitler salute towards heckling leftists at a right-wing protest gathering the day after a man was stabbed and died of his injuries on August 27, 2018 in Chemnitz, Germany.  Holocaust survivors view German far-right protests with ‘growing concern’ skynews germany chemnitz hitler 4403794
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Other demonstrations have seen people making Nazi salutes

It has evoked memories of far-right violence in Germany during the 1990s, while also alerting those who serve to remind of the country’s dark past under Hitler.

Christoph Heubner, executive vice-president of the International Auschwitz Committee, said: “Holocaust survivors are watching the attempt by far-right groups to seize power over the streets and bring hate into cities with growing concern.”

Meanwhile, Thomas Beyer, the mayor of Wismar, warned of a “pogrom” mood in Germany.

The term is defined as an organised killing of a large group of people and is often used historically to refer to the persecution of Jews, such as in revolutionary Russia or Nazi Germany.

A Police Water Cannon in Chemnitz, eastern Germany  Holocaust survivors view German far-right protests with ‘growing concern’ skynews germany chemnitz police 4403055
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Police have drafted in officers from across Germany following clashes

In reported comments, Mr Beyer said: “We are all appalled at what has happened here.

“There are reasons for it; partly that some arsonists are at large in Germany and something like a pogrom sentiment is being created.”

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, has described the sight of protesters making Nazi salutes as “shocking”.

Germany has been riven with tensions since 2015, when Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed those fleeing wars in the Middle East and Africa.

In last year’s German elections, the anti-Islam Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) became the first far-right party to be represented in the country’s federal parliament since the end of the Second World War.

Now the largest opposition party, the AfD’s heartlands are in areas of former East Germany, such as Saxony.

The AfD and fellow anti-Islam group PEGIDA, are planning to march again in Chemnitz on Saturday.



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