Germany plans to commemorate neo-Nazi murder victims

20th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany will hold a memorial service for the victims of a neo-Nazi murder spree, the president of the country's parliament said Sunday, as a minister vowed to compensate the families of those killed.

The Bundestag lower house of parliament has held talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Christian Wulff over the most appropriate way to remember the murder victims, parliament chief Norbert Lammert said.

"We are all agreed that there should be an event," he told Sunday's edition of the Tagesspiegel. "How such a commemoration should take place depends on the views and expectations of the victims' families," he added.

Germany is reeling after the recent discovery of a small far-right group believed to be responsible for the unsolved murders of eight men of Turkish origin and a Greek between 2000 and 2006 as well as a policewoman in 2007.

The killings had long been called the "kebab murders" because many of the victims ran snack shops.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger promised compensation to loved ones and said she was concerned that a probe into neo-Nazi violence might reveal more crimes.

"I fear that at the end of the investigation, we will uncover more victims of xenophobia than we are aware of today," the minister told the Welt am Sonntag weekly.

"Even if financial help cannot undo the suffering, I will attempt to give the victims' families a sign of our solidarity with compensation from my budget," Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said.

In her weekly video message, Merkel described the crimes as "a shame for Germany," questioning how the group, apparently known to the authorities, could have slipped under the radar to carry out its crimes.

The murders have reheated the debate in Germany as to whether to ban the far-right NPD party.

Lammert said that authorities should examine any possible links between the cell and the NPD but appeared sceptical as to the effectiveness of a ban.

"We should not be under the illusion that banning the NPD would dispel far-right attitudes," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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