Solingen victims remembered 20 years on | News | DW | 29.05.2013
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Solingen victims remembered 20 years on

Twenty years after a racially-motivated act of arson killed five young Turkish girls and women in the German town of Solingen, a memorial has been held for the victims. Members of the victims' family took part.

Germany's integration commissioner Maria Böhmer was among the dignitaries to attend Wednesday's ceremony in the western town of Solingen near Düsseldorf. Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag also took part in the ceremony to honor the five Turkish victims of the house fire from twenty years ago.

Speaking at the ceremony, the president of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland region, Manfred Rekowski, said such violence had its origin in a lack of respect for the rights of others.

"Deadly acts arise again and again from dehumanizing thoughts," he said.

Böhmer said the memorial should send out "a clear signal that we will not cease in the fight against right-wing extremism and racism."

The ceremony on Wednesday started with a procession through Solingen, which was led by school children from the area. The procession ended at the house of the Genc family, who lived in the house that was burned and lost five members of the family. Surviving members of the Genc family took part in Wednesday's ceremony as well.

During the event, Mevlüde Genc, who lost two daughters, two grandchildren and a niece in the fire, repeated her appeal at the time of the incident. "Let's be friends'," she said. "Let's live together in peace and shape the future together so the something like this never happens again."

On May 29, 1993, four right-wing youths set fire to the house where the Turkish family lived. The four young men were convicted of murder in 1995.

Solingen was one of a series of arson attacks on against foreigners to be carried our by right-wing extremists in the early 1990s. In November 1992, three Turkish women were killed in a fire set at a house in the town of Mölln. One of the two arsonists was given life in prison for the triple murder.