Berlin (AP) – Amadeu Antonio Kiowa was circled. They hit him with baseball bats. Kicked his head. Until the Angolan lost consciousness – and died of organ failure two weeks later. More precisely on December 6, 1990.
Kiowa was one of the first victims of right-wing violence in reunified Germany. “That something like this could happen is still conceivable today,” says Anetta Kahane thirty years later. She is the president of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which has been campaigning against racism and anti-Semitism on behalf of the dead since 1998.
The foundation has been collecting facts and figures about right-wing violence for years. This shows: The number of deaths has fallen sharply compared to the 1990s, exceptions are events such as the attacks in Hanau and Munich. And while the foundation registered 3,767 attacks on asylum seekers and their housing in 2016, that was 1,664 in 2019.
In the first three quarters of 2020, there were 1062, according to a response from the federal government to a small request from the left-wing faction. However, these figures are usually adjusted upwards afterwards, an employee explains in the documentation of the foundation.
The numbers are one thing. But what about the nature of right-wing extremist violence in the Federal Republic – 30 years after some 50 young neo-Nazis wanted to “applaud” black people in a pogrom-like parade in Eberswalde, Brandenburg, and met Amadeu Antonio?
“The masses of right-wing extremist and racist acts of violence still take place at a similar threshold,” says extremism researcher Gideon Botsch of the University of Potsdam. Situations can be seen repeatedly in which violence is used by groups. But while Amadeu Antonio was hit by a homogeneous group of organized neo-Nazis, nowadays there are also perpetrators who walk under every police radar due to their radicalization. “
Kahane says, “Today we have other areas of violence: threatening backgrounds, silencing people, strategies to conquer space. Something has changed, but it hasn’t gotten any better. “The mixing of violent neo-Nazis and the far right in the old federal states is particularly dangerous. Moreover, the downplaying of far-right views is widespread, especially in East Germany:” The whole Federal Republic has allowed zones in East Germany where some people no longer dare to go. That’s a shame! “
The topic is not purely an East German phenomenon, Kahane says. But with the death of Amadeu Antonio, the riots in Rostock-Lichtenhagen or the death of Alberto Adriano in Dessau in 2000, the East continued to make headlines. Even with the current demonstrations against the Corona measures, the view is often to the east.
This also results in a new threat situation: The Amadeu Antonio Foundation observes growing anti-Semitism in the milieu of Corona deniers: “In my opinion, something is brewing that is about to go into an anti-Semitic mood – an immediate one that passes without further detours ”says Kahane.
But how can you counter this? According to Kahane, a lot is happening, especially in civil society. “There are now many more people who would intervene,” she says, also referring to counter-demonstrations in Thuringia and Saxony.
Botsch also points out that civil society, especially in the East, contributes to a strong monitoring of right-wing violence. And the “Black Lives Matter” movement has also raised the issue of racism more and sensitized many people, Kahane says, “This is new. It wasn’t like that 5 years ago, and certainly not 20 or 30 years ago.”
The most important concrete lever, however, is local politics: “It is important that you talk to local politicians, that you sometimes lead a conflict.” Eberswalde shows that this is possible – the city in which Amadeu Antonio was killed, for which five neo-Nazis were eventually sentenced to probation and imprisonment of two to four years for dangerous bodily harm resulting in death: “It is possible to prevent climate change. cause in a city. “