The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Skinhead International: Germany


Child Killing

November 23, 1992 - Two Skinheads, aged 19 and 25, firebombed two houses in Moelln, Schleswig-Holstein, killing a Turkish woman, her 10-year-old granddaughter, and 14-year-old niece. Several others were severely injured. The perpetrators telephoned the police station and announced, "There's a fire in the Ratzeburger Strasse. Heil Hitler!" They made an identical call to the fire brigade regarding the second address. Michael Peters and Lars Christiansen were tried and convicted in December 1993, and sentenced to life imprisonment, and 10 years, respectively. [1]

May 29, 1993 - Four Skinheads were charged with setting fire to a home in Solingen, North Rhine-Westphalia, killing five Turkish citizens. Three girls, aged 4, 9 and 12, and an 18-year-old woman, died in the flames. Another victim, a 27-year-old woman, died of injuries suffered when she leaped from a window. Ten others were injured. Neighbors reported hearing the arsonists shout "Heil Hitler!" The Skinheads were indicted for murder, attempted murder, and arson. Their trial began in April 1994 and was expected to continue for many months.

October 29, 1993 - A group of Skinheads chanting, "Nigger out!" attacked members of the American Olympic luge team training in Oberhof, Thuringia, after a confrontation in a nearby discotheque. Two of the attackers were convicted in January 1994. One was sentenced to one year, the other to two years and eight months. A third was placed on probation for two years.

March 25, 1994 - A synagogue was firebombed in the northern port city of Luebeck. No injuries were reported, but the synagogue was badly damaged. Four right-wing extremists, ranging in age from 19 to 24, were placed under arrest. While three of them were found guilty of arson and the fourth of complicity in the fire-bombing, they were acquitted of attempted murder even though people were in the synagogue at the time. They were given sentences ranging from two and a half to four and a half years. (Arsonists again attacked the Luebeck synagogue on the night of May 6, 1995, even as elsewhere commemorations of the 50th anniversay of the Nazi surrender in World War II were beginning. Among the ceremonies was a rededication in Berlin - attended by more than 2,000 people, including German Chancellor Helmut Kohl - of a major synagogue destroyed during the war.)

May 12, 1994 - A mob of about 150 youths rampaged against foreigners in Magdeburg, an eastern German city. They beat five Africans on a downtown street and then chased them into a Turkish-owned cafe where four of the assailants were stabbled by cafe employees. Forty-nine rioters - described by police as drunken hooligans and Skinheads - were arrested and release in a few hours. Officials said they were not sure they had enough evidence to bring charges. Four days later charges were finally brought against a 19-year-old, identified as a ringleader of the riot and head of a local neo-nazi group of about 80 members. Commenting on this event, Germany's then-President Richard von Weizsaecker said: "It is hard to understand how, as we see from television pictures, hoodlums or right-wing extremists can charge through the streets, breaking windows and attacking people, and then 50 or more are arrested, but that same night they're all released." Eventually, a number of additional suspects were prosecuted; nine were sentenced to prison or juvenile terms ranging from 14 months to three and a half years.

July 23, 1994 - Twenty-two neo-Nazi Skinheads desecrated the memorial grounds at the site of the former Buchenwald concentration camp. Arriving by bus from the nearby towns of Erfurt and Gera, the Skinheads ran wild, throwing stones and chanting Nazi slogans. They threatened to set on fire a woman staffer who tried to stop them. When the police arrived, they interrogated the group and released all but one. Criticizing this tepid police response, Ignatz Bubis, the chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said: "The way the authorities have handled this case and others is an open invitation to repeat the vandalism." Two of the police officials were subsequently suspended, three others were scheduled for disciplinary action, and the rampaging youths were re-arrested. In October, the leader of the Skinhead gang was sentenced to 20 months in jail and five others, all minors, recied suspended sentences or fines.

September 1994 - Sachsenhausen, the former Nazi concentration camp in Oranienburg, has been repeatedly vandalized. The camp is maintained as a memorial to the victims of Nazi barbarism. Four Skinheads were caught there on September 2 shouting Nazi slogans. Earlier, guards found Nazi swastikas painted on camp property. On September 4, the unused bakery on the campsite burned down. Previously, a hut containing an exhibit about the Holocaust was destroyed.

Work Cited

Anti-Defamation League. The Skinhead International: A Worldwide Survey of Neo-Nazi Skinheads. New York: Anti-Defamation League, 1995. Anti-Defamation League, 823 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017.


Disclaimer: not all skinheads are neo-nazis or white supremacists. There are many skinheads who are non- or anti-racist, and who come from a variety of different religious and cultural backgrounds. Nizkor recognizes their achievements in anti-racism: they are part of the traditional, non-racist skinhead subculture and are not the perpetrators of the hate crimes discussed here.

Unless otherwise specified, the word "skinhead" within these pages refers only to neo-Nazi and white supremacist skinheads, the perpetrators of hate crimes and participants in racist organizations. We cannot edit the body of the text above, because it was not written by Nizkor, and to change the wording would be fraudulent. Please keep in mind that not all skinheads are racist.


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