This week in history: May 28-June 3


This week in history: May 28-June 3

28 May 2018

25 years ago: German neo-Nazis kill five Turkish immigrants in Solingen

Turks and Germans protest in front of the house where five people died

On the night of May 28-29, 1993, five members of a Turkish family in Solingen, in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, died in a house fire set by a gang of neo-Nazi youth. The dead included three young girls and two women, while another 14 people, including several children, were injured in the blaze, some severely. The extended family had lived in Germany since 1970, and in the house for 12 years.

The fire, set with gasoline, broke out at 1:38 a.m., while all those inside the house were sleeping. The dead included 27-year-old Gürsün İnce, who jumped out of a window clutching her four-year-old daughter and an infant in her arms. The two children survived. Another 15-year-old boy leaped from a window, his clothing in flames, but survived. The others who lost their lives were teenager, Hatice Genç, 18, and three children, Gülistan Öztürk, 12, Hülya Genç, 9 and Saime Genç, 4. The oldest survivor, Mevlüde Genç, 50, lost two daughters, two granddaughters and a niece.

The Solingen attack was the most violent (up to that time) of a wave of neo-Nazi attacks on Turkish and other foreign-born working people in Germany, beginning in December 1988. These attacks accelerated under conditions of the revival and encouragement of German nationalism in the course of the reunification of Germany in 1989-90 and the liquidation of the Stalinist-run East Germany (German Democratic Republic or GDR). Only three days before the Solingen deaths, the German Bundestag passed a resolution to change the German constitution by limiting the number of asylum seekers.

The response by the state to…

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