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Right-Wing German Radicals Attack 2 Shelters for Foreigners

December 25, 1991| Associated Press

BERLIN — Right-wing radicals attacked two shelters for foreign asylum-seekers, police reported Tuesday, but President Richard von Weiszaecker used his Christmas message to urge respect for foreigners.

No injuries were reported in the attacks on shelters in Jueterbog, 30 miles south of Berlin.

Police said that about 25 young radicals threw stones at one shelter late Monday and later a firebomb was thrown at a second shelter.

There have been more than 500 attacks on foreigners in Germany this year, resulting in four deaths. Gangs of young men shouting neo-Nazi slogans often carry out the assaults.

Weiszaecker said in his Christmas message being broadcast on radio and television that there is a danger that Germans will fence foreigners out and see them as threatening.

"Our own behavior toward foreigners is not an issue of policy but of our humanity and, not least, our own dignity," he said. "It is a precept of our own self-respect to treat weaker people without force and to help them, whether they are foreigners or not."

He said political leaders must deal humanely with the growing wave of refugees in the world.

More than 193,000 foreigners sought refuge in prosperous Germany last year, about half the total for West Europe. The civil war in Yugoslavia has increased the stream this year, while the declining economy in formerly Communist eastern Germany has given the radical rightists a fertile recruiting ground among youths who fear that the foreigners will take their jobs.

Violence against foreigners appeared first in eastern Germany, then spread to western cities in the summer and early fall.

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