German neo-Nazis were suspected of being behind threats to “behead” a
conservative politician for continuing to back a controversial refugee
housing project yesterday, less than 48 hours after a village building
earmarked for the scheme was set ablaze by unknown assailants.
Democrat politician Gotz Ulrich, from the east German state of Saxony
Anhalt, said that suspected neo-Nazis had threatened to behead him for
supporting plans for a 40-bed refugee hostel in Troglitz, a village in
his constituency which is notorious for neo-Nazi activity.
threats are of an unpleasant nature,” he told Germany’s N-TV news
channel yesterday. “They are going so far as to threaten methods used
during the French revolution.” Police said they were taking the threats
seriously and were giving Mr Ulrich 24-hour protection.
development was the latest case of overt neo-Nazi intimidation to blight
Troglitz, a village of 2700 inhabitants and the focus of far right
opposition to the liberal asylum policies of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
Far-right protests against the planned asylum hostel were
thought to have peaked last month, after the village mayor, Markus
Nierth, stepped down in the wake of threats by the neo-Nazi National
Democratic Party (NPD) to stage protest rallies in front of the
46-year-old mayor’s home.
On Saturday, however, shocked Troglitz
residents awoke to find the roof of the new – and as yet empty – refugee
hostel had been destroyed by fire. Officials said one or more people
broke in and started the blaze at 2am. “Everything in this case points
to deliberate arson,” said Germany’s Interior Minister, Thomas de
The NPD remains legal in Germany despite government
attempts to ban the organisation and has seats in two state parliaments
in east Germany. It stands accused of deliberately bussing in its
adherents to Troglitz to foment unrest.
Mr Nierth, who resigned
to draw attention to the fact that he had not been given sufficient
police protection and felt his family was threatened, insisted: “We
can’t let the Nazis win in our town.” He said he was shattered by the
apparent arson attack: “I am stunned, sad and furious at the same time,
Troglitz will never recover from this.”
After his resignation,
the hostel was overseen by Mr Ulrich, MP in the Saxony Anhalt state
government, who received threats to behead him after insisting, despite
the fire, the project would go ahead.