Brick of a destroyed house

Stone Witness

Where a large two-family house once stood, only a gaping hole remains today. Five chestnut trees and a plaque bearing their names commemorate the five young women and girls who were murdered here: Gürsün İnce, Gülüstan Öztürk and Hülya, Hatice and Saime Genç. They died in the racially motivated arson attack on their house on Untere Wernerstraße in Solingen on May 29th, 1993. The stone is a remnant of the destroyed house, a silent witness to the murders committed here.

The Solingen arson attack was the sad zenith of a series of racially motivated attacks in the early 1990s: Eberswalde, Hoyerswerda, Hünxe, Rostock-Lichtenhagen, Mölln. Under pressure from increasingly loud xenophobic voices, politicians fiercely debated the so-called “foreigner question”. On 26th May, 1993 the federal parliament restricted the right to asylum.

The town of Solingen and state of North Rhine-Westphalia were deeply shaken by the attack – in many places, people took to the streets in the name of reconciliation. Questions of blame, neglect and failure were raised. However, the shock spurred many into action whose effects can be felt to this day. A private initiative erected a memorial for the victims, shown in the model here. Mevlüde Genç, mother, grandmother and aunt to those killed, called for reconciliation despite the violence against her family. To this day she demands “peace and unity together” and calls Solingen her home.