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Shofar FTP Archive File: places//germany/dolgenbrodt

A small town in Germany faces hate charge
   by Yacine Le Forestier

    DOLGENBRODT, Germany, Aug 26 (AFP) - The quiet village of
Dolgenbrodt, an hour's drive south of Berlin in former East
Germany, located by the still waters of a lake amid the muffled
silence of oak forests, has seen its idyll shattered by
strident accusations that it is a hotbed of racism.
    To the anguish of the village's inhabitants, the Berlin
daily Tageszeitung has charged that Dolgenbrodt last year paid
skinheads to set fire to a hostel for asylum-seekers who
threatened to disturb their tranquillity.
    On October 31 last, a brand new holiday centre was ravaged
by an arson attack the day before a batch of 86 asylum-seekers
were to move in.
    Almost a year later the blackened ruins remain in mute
testimony to hate, the word itself -- "hass", in German --
painted in red on one of the remaining walls.     The numerous
arson attacks on hostels for foreigners reported in Germany
over the past year have invariably been ascribed to neo-Nazi
vandals working alone.
    An attack organised by a community, if the newspaper report
were confirmed, would form a precedent that no-one wants to
    "I can't believe that my villagers do such a thing,"
mayoress Ute Preissler said, shaking her head. "They are
perfectly normal people, serious and honest.
    According to the Tageszeitung, the village's 260
inhabitants clubbed together to form a kitty of 2,000 marks
(almost 1,200 dollars) to hire a group of skinheads in the
region to carry out the job for them.
    They even went so far as to provide the material for a
Molotov cocktail, the newspaper said.
    Investigators who had made no comment until the newspaper
broke the silence admitted that their conclusions were pointing
"in that direction," and a regional minister described the
matter as "extremely serious."
    Law officers said a youth had told investigators last May
that several young people had been paid by the villagers of
Dolgenbrodt to set fire to the hostel.
    "That's rubbish," said Gerd Graefen, 45, one of the few
villagers not to barricade himself behind shutters in order to
avoid the questions of reporters.
    He admitted however that the whole community had been in
arms against the hostel, organising petitions and protest
    "Just imagine -- 80 gypsies and blacks here nicking our
things and burglarising our houses," Graefen said indignantly.
"A lot of us had already put up bars and planks in front of our
windows, or bought guard dogs and installed alarm systems. Some
people wanted to put trees across the road."
    A few doors along, Hans Krueger swears that he never paid a
pfennig to have anyone burn down the hostel.
    "But it's true we weren't too unhappy at the way it turned
out," he admitted. "Life would have been impossible with
gypsies around. Now we can live in peace."
    One of the villagers until recently had the flag of the
former imperial navy raised in his garden.
    The flag, though not illegal like nazi flags bearing the
swastika, is often paraded by neo-nazis and their supporters.
    Fearing incidents, local police persuaded the man to take
the flag down

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