On the forthcoming third anniversary of the racist attack in Hanau, which left nine dead, Hesse’s state parliament president, Astrid Wallmann (CDU), highlighted the dangers posed by right-wing extremism to a free, democratic society. “To oppose this ideology decisively and with all means is the task and obligation of all state power – but also of all citizens of our country,” said Wallmann on Friday in Wiesbaden.

The attack in Hanau has kept many people busy to this day – above all the survivors and victims. “The cowardly and cold-blooded act took nine people out of their lives. They all had dreams and plans for a life in peace and freedom. But they were killed because the assassin saw them as having no place in our society,” said Wallman.

“Even three years after the terrible act, our message is clear and unmistakable: the victims of Hanau were a part of us, they were our fellow citizens. The victims are not ‘the others’ – ‘the others’ are the perpetrators,” stressed the President of the Landtag. “Let us take the commemoration of the victims as an opportunity to counter xenophobia even more decisively. February 19, 2020 reminds us of this responsibility and obligation.”

“Germany has a racism problem”

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Ferda Ataman, also sharply criticizes the treatment of people affected by racism in Germany. “The relatives of Hanau, but also many other people who experience racism, are currently experiencing that discrimination is being played down as “woke” or “identity politics” and dismissed as an irrelevant interest of minorities,” Ataman told the newspapers of the Funke media group.

At the same time, it can be observed that after the events on New Year’s Eve, general suspicion was expressed against people with a migration background. “Germany has a racism problem – this is also evident when federal politicians talk disparagingly about Muslim young people as “little pashas”,” said Ataman, referring to controversial statements by CDU chairman Friedrich Merz.

On the occasion of the commemoration of the right-wing terrorist attack, the anti-discrimination officer called for measures against right-wing extremism to be implemented more consistently. “After the racist assassination attempt in Hanau, there was a cabinet decision against right-wing extremism and racism for the first time. That was a turning point politically. It is all the more disappointing that the federal government has not yet implemented its announcements.” The controversial term “race” in Article 3 of the Basic Law, for example, “has not yet been changed, despite corresponding announcements in a package of measures by the federal government,” said Ataman.

On the evening of that day, a 43-year-old German murdered nine people in Hanau for racist reasons. He then killed his mother and himself. The victims will be commemorated this Sunday with a memorial service on Hanau’s market square and other events.