German President Joachim Gauck speaks on August 26, 2012 at a commemoration event in Rostock Lichtenhagen, northeastern Germany.
German President Joachim Gauck has marked the 20th anniversary of Germany’s worst post-war racist violence, warning that xenophobia, hate and violence are still present in the country.
Speaking at a ceremony in Rostock to mark Germany’s worst racist attacks since WWII, Gauck called on people and the state to stand up to right-wing extremism.
"Democracy must be resilient and cannot allow law and order to be taken from its hands,” the President said on Sunday.
He stressed that a strong democracy is needed to protect dignity and human life against extremism.
Guack’s remarks came as the country is struggling with an active neo-Nazi movement. However, the President said that the state would confront right-wing extremists.
"We promise you - we do not fear you. Where you stand, we will stand in your way,” he added.
In August 1992, two years after German reunification, a gang of neo-Nazis attacked a hostel for asylum seekers in the Lichtenhagen district, Rostock. The extremists then set the building on fire while at least 100 Vietnamese guest workers were inside. No one was killed during the mob attack but the fires raged on for five days.
Guack, who was born in Rostock, also said that while the hate attacks of 1992 cannot be undone, "we are all the more duty-bound to not let the incident be forgotten".