Germany commemorates victims of racist attack one year ago
BERLIN, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- With vigils, rallies and memorial services, Germany commemorated on Friday the victims of a racist motivated attack that took place in Hanau one year ago.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the official commemoration in Hanau would only take place in a small circle with around 50 invited guests. All the bells in the city would ring at the end shortly after 7 p.m. local time.
"The fate of the nine people who fell victim to the attack will remain anchored in the collective memory of the city's community for all time to come," said Hanau Mayor Claus Kaminsky in a statement on Thursday.
One year ago, a man fatally shot nine people with migration backgrounds at several locations in the Hessian town of Hanau before killing his mother and then committing suicide. The 43-year-old man had published racist pamphlets on the internet filled with conspiracy theories and vitriol against migrants.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her latest video podcast that she would never forget the conversations with the families of those murdered and their despair about how to go on now without their loved one.
"All of us who want to live together peacefully here in Germany stand united against the hatred of the racists," said Merkel.
Following the racist attack, the German government passed a comprehensive package of measures in the fight against right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism at the end of last year. It provides more than one billion euros (1.21 billion U.S. dollars) by 2024 to combat right-wing extremism and racism in the country.