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'Foreigners Out!': Legacy of Rostock riots

August 22, 2022

In August 1992, Germany experienced its worst outbreak of racial violence since 1945. In Rostock, a mob threw stones and then firebombs at an apartment block housing mainly Vietnamese workers. The legacy of that night reverberates to this day.


Hung Quoc Nguyen moved to what was then communist East Germany in 1989. He was one of more than 100 Vietnamese residents inside their apartments in the city of Rostock during the attacks in 1992. The assault forced them to climb to safety on the roof. In this film, he speaks out publicly for the first time: "The Vietnamese in Rostock still remember what happened, but nobody wants to talk about it."

Wolfgang Richter, who was then the city commissioner for foreigners, was in the building and helped bring the women and children to safety. He is still haunted by memories of the mob who cheered on the attack: "We bear a responsibility to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again."

This film revisits the xenophobic riots in Rostock in 1992 and asks: How could this have happened? And what is the legacy of this racist attack today?

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