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July 7, 2020
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Young Romani woman was a victim of German shooting spree

21.2.2020 9:28
One of the victims of the Hanau shooting was a 35-year-old Romani woman, Mercedes K. (Collage:  Romea.cz)
One of the victims of the Hanau shooting was a 35-year-old Romani woman, Mercedes K. (Collage: Romea.cz)

A forty-three-year-old German man shot nine people dead in two local hookah bars in Hanau, Germany, on Wednesday evening and was found dead in his apartment several hours later by police along with his dead mother. According to statements by local authorities yesterday, the motive for the crime was apparently xenophobia, and the Supreme State Prosecutor is investigating the case as one of suspected terrorism.

Authorities have not yet confirmed the victims' citizenship, but according to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), many of them were of immigrant origin. News server Romea.cz has been informed that one of the victims was a 35-year-old Romani woman.

The attack has been condemned by politicians domestically and internationally who have called for combating extremism and violence. The gunman, according to the media, is from Hanau.

In the town of 100 000 near Frankfurt he fired a weapon into local bars offering hookahs or shishas, which are especially favored in the Arab world. He then went home and apparently shot his mother and then himself.

Police tracked him down by identifying the car he used to flee the scene. According to local authorities, the perpetrator had a legally-held weapon and was a target shooter.

Nine of the victims and most of those he injured have roots abroad, according to DPA. According to social media posts researched by news server Romea.cz one of the victims in the second bar was a 35-year-old Romani woman.

Videos shared by Romani Facebook users have demonstrated she was a victim. Her death has also been confirmed by the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, which stated that she was a German citizen who also had Polish roots.

"The Central Council and all Roma and Sinti in Germany are mourning the murdered young woman, a mother of two. We are also holding all the victims of this right-wing terrorist attack in our thoughts," Romani Rose, the chair of the Central Council, told the German media.

The Romani victim, Mercedes K., was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest. "I heard from relatives and friends that she was killed," German media quoted a friend of the murdered woman as saying.

"I didn't want to believe it, but then I saw the videos of her family weeping," the friend of Mercedes told German media. "After the Holocaust, how can something so inhumane happen?"

Five of the victims were Turkish citizens, according to Ankara. The chair of the Kurdish Association in Germany, Ali Ertan Toprak, called on the Government to resolutely combat right-wing extremism.

The daily Bild quoted Toprak as saying: "We have been warning of this danger for several years now." An association of Muslims in Germany has also made a statement about the attack.

"It is high time that we come together and stand together to combat right-wing extremism," Bild quoted the chair of the Coordination Council of Muslims (KRM), Zekeriyu Altuga, as saying yesterday. German media report that a spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called on the German authorities to expend "maximum effort" to investigate the shooting.

Also according to German media, detectives are reviewing a letter that the perpetrator allegedly left behind demonstrating his radical right-wing motivation. A video that the suspect posted to social media several days ahead of the crime documents his xenophobic tendencies.

According to DPA, he expressed negative views about migrants from Arab countries and Turkey in that video. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday that a great deal of evidence demonstrates that the gunman was motivated by right-wing extremism, racism, and hatred toward people of different origins, adding that it was too soon to make a conclusive assessment.

Merkel said yesterday was a day of extraordinary sadness and that she could not imagine what the families and friends of those who had been shot were going through. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also condemned the crime.

"I am convinced that the vast majority of people in Germany condemn this crime and any other form of racism, hatred and violence," he wrote in a statement. Czech President Miloš Zeman has sent Steinmeier a condolence letter expressing concern over growing hatred and violence in Europe.

Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček also expressed condolences to Germany on Twitter. The Czech Foreign Ministry also tweeted yesterday morning that according to the latest information from the Czech Embassy in Berlin, Czech citizens were not among the victims of the tragedy.

The heads of the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament have also expressed their condolences to the loved ones of the victims. French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned the common fight for "our values and defending our democracies" in his statement.

Shooter from Hanau celebrated Germans as a "superior nation" and attacked migrants in a pamphlet

The gunman is said to have written a 24-page pamphlet making his paranoid, racist ideas about the world apparent, according to the news server of the magazine Der Spiegel, and alleging that the Germans are the nation from which everything that is best in the world has ever grown and that the inhabitants of many other countries must be exterminated. The author of the pamphlet also expressed concern that somebody had been "following" him for a long time.

Police are assuming the text is authentic and was authored by the gunman, 43-year-old Tobias R. In it he alleges, for example, that he noticed the "bad behavior of certain groups in the population" right away, then criticizes Islam as destructive, and criticizes immigrants as people whom it is necessary to instinctively reject.

"On the other hand, I have recognized my own people as the country from which the best and most beautiful things that the world has to offer have grown," the pamphlet states. According to the author, the Germans have raised humanity up as a whole.

The text then names more than 20 countries whose inhabitants must be destroyed, in his view, and discusses the question of how many Germans are actually "of pure race and worth anything". In that context, the author notes that he could imagine cutting the number of those living there by half.

The pamphlet clearly demonstrates the paranoid thoughts of the author, who wrote that he was convinced that thousands of Germans are being followed by an omnipotent secret service whose collaborators are able to read other people's minds and even control people's behavior from a distance. According to the pamphlet, the author had already wondered about whether he himself was being "followed" when he was young and became "certain" of it at the age of 22.

The author uses Hollywood films, references to football trainer Jürgen Klopp, and lectures from the university in Bayreuth to back up his arguments. The pamphlet also discusses the future role of China in the world and US President Donald Trump - Der Spiegel reports that Tobias R. was a Trump fan.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Extremism, Germany, Racism, shootings



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