Extremism: Five years after the murder: Remembering Walter Lübcke

Extremism: Five years after the murder: Remembering Walter Lübcke

Five years ago, a neo-Nazi shot and killed CDU politician Walter Lübcke. At a memorial ceremony, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for unity against right-wing extremism.

Five years after the fatal shooting of CDU politician Walter Lübcke, relatives, politicians, representatives of churches and associations as well as numerous citizens came together for a memorial ceremony in Kassel. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier honored Lübcke in his memorial speech in St. Martin’s Church as “a hero of action.”

“We all wish that Walter Lübcke could continue to be what he was until June 2, 2019: an upright democrat who took responsibility. A politician who stood up for himself, a friendly, curious fellow human being,” said Steinmeier. Lübcke paid for his upright stance as a democrat and his commitment to the community with his life.

The then Kassel district president was shot dead on the night of June 2, 2019 on his terrace in Wolfhagen-Istha in northern Hesse by the right-wing extremist Stephan E. – because of his rejection of Lübcke’s liberal stance on refugee policy. The perpetrator is serving a life sentence. His act is considered the first politically motivated murder of a German politician by a neo-Nazi in the Federal Republic.

Steinmeier described the crime as a right-wing extremist act of terror that targeted Lübcke, but also society. Lübcke was hated and killed by those who hated our liberal, democratic society. “He had to die because he defended the values ​​that make up our society. That is why this murder concerns us all and must never let us rest.”

Federal President sees shortcomings in the state

The Federal President also addressed the state’s failures. It is difficult and painful to recall the course of events. “Especially because, despite many attempts at legal and political clarification, there are still open questions that are tormenting.” Five years after the murder, after the legal proceedings and the investigative committee, it must be said: “We do not know whether the murder of Walter Lübcke could have been prevented. But we do know that we did not do enough to avert the danger.”

The crime did not come out of nowhere, it has a history. This history includes the state’s failure to recognize the terrible danger of right-wing terrorism in its entirety. “For far too long, we in our country have held on to the assessment that we are dealing with individual perpetrators, at most with a small gang. The right-wing extremist ideology, the existing structures and networks, the groups and their contacts were underestimated, and the danger they pose was misjudged,” criticized the Federal President.

Call for unity in the fight against right-wing terror

He called for unity in the fight against right-wing terror. Right-wing extremism is not something that simply disappears. “Its appearance may have changed. It has become socially acceptable, even party-friendly. But even if it sometimes comes along in a fancy suit or young people in a champagne mood chant along to its slogans – it is no less dangerous,” said Steinmeier, referring to the events on the North Sea island of Sylt. Last weekend, a video from there caused outrage, in which young people sang racist slogans to the song “L’amour toujours” by Gigi D’Agostino.

“Extremist violence – whether left-wing extremist, right-wing extremist or Islamist violence – extremist violence kills and it seeks to destroy democracy,” said Steinmeier. “Every day we see attempts to use words to shift the scale of decency, the consensus of our values. And often, too often, this attempt succeeds.”

The terrible consequence of this is violence. “Especially these days, we read and hear almost every day that politically active people and elected representatives are being physically attacked. Just on Saturday, CDU Bundestag member Roderich Kiesewetter was attacked by a man at an election campaign event in Aalen, Baden-Württemberg, and was slightly injured. “We must not get used to violence in political debates,” Steinmeier stressed. Because violence sows fear and silences the people who need a democracy.

Steinmeier: “It really depends on each and every one of us”

Politically active people deserve every possible protection and need broad social support. Where hatred is spread, opposition is needed, stressed the Federal President. Everyone has a responsibility that they can assume. “It really depends on each and every one of us.” Each and every individual can give something, for example peacefulness in dealing with one another and solidarity with those who are threatened. It is always possible to say no. “I am and remain convinced that the majority in this country stands behind our democratic values.”

Walter Lübcke was a person who, as a Christian and a democrat, took on the responsibility of opposing the attacks on our society. “We need him here among us now,” said Steinmeier. “Let us take him as a role model as a person who courageously stood up for the dignity of the individual, who was friendly and open, who did the right thing. We will not forget him.”

Prime Minister Rhein: “Don’t leave this country to the wrong people”

Hesse’s Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU) also remembered Lübcke as a fighter. His murder was a signal and a call: “Join in, don’t sit back, don’t just shrug your shoulders. (…) Don’t leave this country to the wrong people.”

“Even after his death, Walter Lübcke calls out to us: Defend the values ​​of the Basic Law,” said Beate Hofmann, Bishop of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck. Particularly in an election year and in uncertain times, the strong commitment of a broad civil society is needed. “We will not allow ourselves to be intimidated,” she said. “Today we are celebrating a festival of democracy together, instead of hiding.”

A total of around 1,000 guests attended the memorial ceremony, which was initiated by the Evangelical Church Community of Kassel-Mitte, the Kassel Regional Council and the democracy initiative “Open for Diversity”, including the Lübcke family and relatives of victims of the right-wing extremist terrorist cell National Socialist Underground (NSU) in Kassel.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) made his statement in the video message “Chancellor compact” distributed on the Internet on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the murder of Lübcke and the NSU nail bomb attack in Cologne-Mülheim on June 9, 2004. He appealed to citizens to stand up against hatred and violence. “Anyone who insults, threatens or degrades others will face opposition everywhere. On the Internet as well as at the local bar or in the office,” he said. “Intervening in such situations is not always easy. But this is the only way we can combat the hatred that poisons hearts and clouds minds.”

Source: Stern

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