Right-wing attacks in bremen: hate and black paint

After attacks on the Jewish community of Bremerhaven, there have now been two more attacks on memorials in Bremen, most recently on the Valentin bunker

Apparently disturbs some in their national pride: the Bunker Valentin in Bremen-Farge. Photo: Ingo Wagner/dpa

Unknown persons have spray-painted a concrete wall at Bunker Valentin: "Stop the cult of guilt" is emblazoned in black letters across the entire width of the wall. On Tuesday, a day before the graffiti was discovered, the SPD parliamentary group had requested a new report on right-wing extremism and xenophobia in Bremen, referring to "newly emerging phenomena and groups such as the Reichsburger as well as the Identitarian Movement and the Junge Alternative."

Its parent party liberated the term "cult of guilt" from its scene existence during the Bundestag election campaign at the latest: Several AfD politicians had publicly referred to the memory of National Socialism in this context.

And, what a coincidence: On November 24, the Junge Alternative (JA) Bremen used it on its Facebook page – on the subject of Bunker Valentin, of all things. Referring to an article in the Weser-Kurier, which deals with projects for Bremen-North, which also includes the idea of a further development of the Valentin memorial, the JA comments as follows: "(…) Here, no attempt is made to derive a future perspective from Bremen-North, but the cult of guilt is rigorously developed for daily celebration. (…) It is we, the loyal German youth, who look to the future and with the necessary distance to our history and we are resolutely against any ‘remembrance vacation’ and ‘guilt cult tourism’."

He doesn’t know who is responsible for the graffiti, says Marcus Meyer of Denkort Bunker Valentin, "but the direction of content naturally fits the AfD and the Identitarian movement – that’s their narrative." Farge and Rekum in Bremen are focal areas of the Identitarian movement and so-called "Reichsburger" and again and again stickers of the right-wing extremist "Farge Ultras" can be found in the vicinity of the bunker.

Just last weekend, there was a paint attack on a memorial site, also in Bremen-Nord: At Jenny-Ries-Platz in Blumenthal, which is supposed to commemorate the merchant who was murdered in Treblinka, the name was painted over with black paint. "I have no idea who did it," says Peter Nowack (SPD), head of the local authority. He decided a long time ago "to meet any Nazis only with pity – it’s better to give them pity than anger. Otherwise you only enhance them."

The alliance "Show your face for a cosmopolitan Bremerhaven" takes the matter more seriously. Because two attacks within three months hit the Jewish community of Bremerhaven: In August, the memorial stone of the old synagogue was smashed with a hammer and the week before last, a swastika was smeared on the synagogue with black paint.

For Alliance member Patrice Hannig of the socialist youth "Falken", the attacks are "a sign of growing anti-Semitism and "an outgrowth of a nationwide trend by memory-political relativizations of such people as Hocke and Gauland". This is also noticeable in so-called "secondary anti-Semitism": "They say that the Jews are to blame for the fact that Germans are not allowed to be proud of their country.

It is noticeable that in Bremerhaven the number of posters and stickers of the NPD, of right-wing rock bands and labels, "but also of AfD, Reichsburger or the Identitarian movement has visibly increased."

The alliance, an association of civil society groups, churches, trade unions and initiatives, is organizing a vigil on Monday afternoon with speeches by Mircea Ionescu, chairman of the Jewish community, and by Protestant pastor Werner Keil. "Already since the first attack, the Jewish community no longer feels safe – we want to back them up and show our solidarity," says Hannig.

The swastika graffiti is now being investigated by the State Security Service, and the synagogue is to be protected by video surveillance and an increased police presence, "but in my opinion, the attack in August was not investigated very closely," says Hannig. At the time, he says, police were quick to speak of a "mentally disturbed perpetrator." "But that wasn’t just anything, it was a memorial stone that was massively hit."

Vigil "Show your face against anti-Semitism in Bremerhaven": Monday, December 11, 5 p.m., Old Synagogue, Schulstrabe 5, Bremerhaven.

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