Speech: Commemoration of the pogrom in Lichtenhagen

We stand in front of the Ulmenwache at the stele, which reminds of the police failure during the pogrom in Lichtenhagen. Three years ago, there was an action against deportations exactly at this point when Lorenz Caffier - a deportation hardliner from the Ministry of the Interior - gave the opening speech here.

We ask you to sit down again now! Demonstrate here in front of the Ulmenwache symbolically against any deportation that deprives people in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern of the freedom of choice where they want to live. Any deportation is state authority. Every deportation is accompanied and implemented by police officers. And to the police officers present: be brave. Just don't take the shit with you.

For several years now, the Rostock police have been expressing their suffering at their failure in Rostock-Lichtenhagen. We do not give praise for late insight. As an anti-racist initiative, we are constantly dealing with violence ordered by the Ministry of the Interior and carried out by police officers. The fish rots from the head: That's how it was in 1992 and it still is today.

Since last year, Pro Bleiberecht and the AJZ Kita in Ribnitz-Damgarten have initiated the commemoration of Dragomir Christinel. The young man from Romania was beaten to death by Nazis in Saal on 13 March 1992. He was lying in his bed when 30 right-wing youths raided the accommodation for asylum seekers in Saal. At the time, the Ministry of Interior imposed an information ban, making it difficult to report on his death. This racist murder happened five months before the pogrom in Lichtenhagen. Those responsible knew what the right-wing mob in Mecklenburg-Vormpommern was capable of. They knew it and they were not prepared, although the pogrom in Rostock was even announced.

We say here again quite clearly at this crooked stele: you knew it. But neither the Ministry of Interior nor the police were prepared. Not only the unnecessary and cruel death of Dragomir Christinel could have given hints. In 1992 there were 157 attacks on asylum seekers and leftists in MV.

A story that many people do not know: In Novemer 1991, 30 right-wing hooligans attacked a shelter in Greifswald. The refugees who lived there had just been sent from Schleswig-Holstein to Greifswald. After the reunification, figures had to be made and the asylum seekers from the west had to be distributed in the east in accordance with the bureaucratic distribution rule.

Those affected did not want to go to Greifswald. They were already protesting against their distribution in Schleswig-Holstein after a delegation of them had held talks with migrants in Greifswald. It was hardly surprising that these discussions had led to the conclusion that the social mood in Greifswald was marked by racism and violence. They still had to go to Greifswald and were attacked.

We unpack this story, because it ended differently from Lichtenhagen: Supported by anti-racist activists, the refugees organized themselves a bus and travelled back to Schleswig-Holstein. There they occupied a church and protested against having to return. This church occupation is to this day the longest church occupation that has existed.

What the story teaches us is simple: everyone knew. Even for people who had just applied for asylum in Germany, it was possible to find out what the Ministry of Interior and the police in MV were not prepared for: that life was dangerous for migrants of colour in the early 1990s in MV.

During the pogrom in Lichtenhagen, the Ministry of the Interior MV also chartered a bus. They took the asylum seekers to Hinrichsdorf and later to Nostorf-Horst. The pressure of the situation led to the decision where the central admission station should now lie: in the former border strip, just before Schleswig-Holstein. They didn't want to deal with the problem of racism, so they "hid" the central admission station from the nazis. A momentous decision that continues to shape the first months of asylum seekers in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Because the reception centre is still in Nostorf-Horst. There is a manifestation against exclusion and institutional racism once a month. The dates can be found on our homepage and on the flyers that we distributed today. Come along, because there is one stop missing on today's bike tour: the stop in Horst, this silent memorial in the middle of the forest, which hardly anyone knows.

Like all other reception centres in Germany, Nostorf-Horst stands for the tightening and deprivation of rights of migrants in recent years. The AnkER centres and reception centres are a painful admission that the anti-racist movement had no real answers to the roll-back of the asylum policy into the 1990s, which has been driven by the „Seehofers“ and „Caffiers“ of this country since 2015.

At the manifestaions in Horst we meet people who have to live in this camp for more than 2 years. Without a work permit, without a German course, without school, without perspective. People are mentally and emotionally starved to urge them to leave voluntarily. To enforce the broken Dublin system and send people back to the streets in Italy, to the prisons in Hungary and the hotspots in Greece.

The violence here is different from 1992 on the streets. "They take away our dignity," say some asylum seekers in Horst. "Killing us slowly," others say. Because they suffer in Horst: from insomnia, from depression, from doing nothing, from a hopeless situation in which there is no "back home".

Racism kills. Not only in pogroms. Also slow and quiet with camps, deportations and asylum law scares.

We also stress this here in front of this crooked stele, which is supposed to remind us of the failure of the police and the Ministry of the Interior in 1992: a 'sorry for 92' is pure mockery, while Caffier makes politics with the amount of deportations and destroys lives. It is pure mockery when the same police chief, who likes to give interviews on Lichtenhagen, organises and implements deportations, which destroy lives.

We are making this speech after hundreds of thousands of people around the world have taken to the streets in recent months against racism in the police. Seehofer and Caffier not fancy to deal with racism in the police. Our proposal: Start with racism in your ministries!

Start abolishing racist laws! Stop making the existing laws even more racist! Do not expand deportation detention, but abolish it!

Racism is not a problem on the right. Racism is deeply entrenched in our society. We have to fight it every damn day, uproot him. In ourselves, in laws the Union and the SPD expect us, in institutions such as the police, in the structures of this society.

In 2020, 28 years after the pogroms, we have no reason to be quiet. Instead, we must cry out against the state and daily racism.

Therefore, let us all say together loud and clear: Refugees are welcome here!