The fear of right-wing extremist violence is growing in Germany after the politician Walter Lübcke was shot in June by a right-wing extremist. In a quiet area of Berlin, residents are targeted.
A victim is a bookseller. Another is a historian who runs a gallery. One third is a mother who refused to accept a right-wing election ballot. What they all have in common is their strong opposition to right-wing extremism.
Their cars were lit. Molotov cocktails were thrown against their houses, and their windows were smashed with bricks. Neo-Nazi death threats were glued to the walls of houses in red paint.
However, this is not a criminal area. The southern end of Berlin’s Neukölln district, where these people live, is peaceful and green. Fully manicured gardens and immaculate walkways make it a bourgeois residential idyll on the outskirts of town.
The burning of cars is a common sign of political violence in Berlin – easy to do and difficult to understand. In the last three years alone in Neukölln at least 13 cars were lit from the right side.
The car of the left local politician Ferat Kocak was set on fire in 2018 when it stood next to his parents’ house. Flames licked the building where he and his family slept.
Mirjam Blumenthal, a left-liberal SPD politician in the district council, was also beaten. Her car was lit and a youth center she runs was hit by two arson attacks. Later, neo-Nazi symbols appeared on the walls of the youth center next to the words, “We’re burning with interest in you.”
According to the Berlin police have been in Neukölln since 2016 more than 400 right-wing extremist crimes reported. These include broken windows, arson attacks or physical violence. But also neo-Nazi death threats, in which the names of people in red paint stick to the walls of their houses.
Residents say the police are not doing enough to prevent right-wing extremist attacks