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Arson Attack on Turkish Families in Mölln (November 24, 1992)

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Outside on Mühlenstrasse, young men carried blankets over [to the house], stretched them out and encouraged the people trapped on the upper floors to jump. Many did and were able to save themselves that way, albeit some with injuries. Others were rescued in different ways. Children were tossed into the blankets as well, and thus managed to avoid peril. “A woman standing on the top floor was screaming ‘My children are burning,’” reported nineteen-year-old Mustafa, a young man from the neighborhood, who had run over to Mühlenstrasse no. 9 in his pajamas. For three people – two women, fifty-one and twenty years old, and a ten-year-old girl – all help came too late. The fifty-one-year-old was the matriarch of the Arslan family; she had lived in Mölln for two decades. The child, her granddaughter Gillis, was born on Mühlenstrasse, and the twenty-year-old was visiting from Turkey.

Mölln’s population of approximately 17,000 presently includes 150 Turkish families, about 700 people. Young Turkish men regularly get together at a tea house in the Old Town, just as they did this Monday. They sat there at tables, their expressions grim; a whole group of them had experienced the horrific incident as rescuers. The mayor had been there that morning and had spoken with those present about how to help the now homeless residents of the burned-out buildings.

Around noon, a young man came running and announced that a demonstration had formed on the main street. Students at the vocational school had spontaneously decided to end their instruction early and register their protest. Not everyone participated, but more than 200 turned out and marched silently through the city in the drizzling rain. “Will German history repeat itself?” read one hastily made cardboard poster. The protest march grew to about five hundred; passersby joined the marchers, including some of the numerous out-of-town journalists, as well as Ute Erdsiek-Rave (SPD), president of the Schleswig-Holstein state parliament, who had rushed there from Kiel. She, too, was visibly shocked by the crime, the perpetrators of which are still unknown. Only one neighbor of the family on Ratzeburger Strasse was able to report that he had heard the screeching tires of car taking off shortly before the fire broke out.

Source: Klaus Brill, “My Children are Burning!” [“Meine Kinder, die verbrennen”], Süddeutsche Zeitung, November 24, 1992.

Translation: Allison Brown

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