The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Neo-Nazi's on Rampage

APn 07/24 1450 Germany-Buchenwald
Copyright, 1994. The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
By LARRY THORSON, Associated Press Writer

BERLIN (AP) -- A gang of 22 neo-Nazis went on a rampage at the site of the Buchenwald concentration camp, throwing stones, shouting Nazi slogans and threatening to burn a woman who works there, police said Sunday.

A tour bus carrying 21 young men and one woman pulled up Saturday evening at the former camp, now a national memorial to the 56,000 people who died there between 1937 and 1945.

They shouted "Sieg Heil" and gave the stiff-armed Hitler salute. They broke a window in a barracks building and pulled out a cart that was part of an exhibit on inmates' labor. And they threatened a staff member.

"One of them said to this woman, `I'll burn you with my own hands,'" Weimar policeman Oswin Werner said in a national television interview.

All 22 were detained briefly for questioning. Police said only one, a 23-year-old from Erfurt, remained under arrest Sunday.

Prosecutors were considering whether to bring charges of disturbing the peace and making threats.

On Friday, 14 youths aged 18 to 20 were arrested in the eastern city Magdeburg for marching around and singing Nazi songs. They may face charges of spreading propaganda of the illegal Nazi party.

On May 12, neo-Nazis hunted for foreigners during riotous marches in Magdeburg, 75 miles west of Berlin.

The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Ignatz Bubis, said the Buchenwald rampage showed the need for strict enforcement of Germany's laws banning Nazi paraphernalia and propaganda.

"These attacks are not just adolescents showing off. We're well past that stage, these are planned actions," Bubis said in an interview with the Mitteldeutsches Express, an eastern German daily.

Police were called out three other times during the weekend to deal with noisy neo-Nazi groups in eastern Germany, ARD national television reported.

During World War II, the Nazis held some 238,000 Jews, Gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war, German political prisoners and others at Buchenwald, which lies in a forest on a hillside overlooking Weimar, a city 120 miles southwest of Berlin.

The memorial, consisting of the few buildings remaining from the concentration camp, is being remodeled in preparation for next year's 50th anniversary of its liberation in the last weeks of World War II.

Officials have said security was strengthened early this year following isolated instances in which neo-Nazis insulted Israeli visitors to the camp.

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