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More arrests in village’s alleged plot to burn down refugee home

January 30, 1997

DOLGENBRODT, Germany (AP) _ Three people have been arrested in a suspected 1992 plot in which residents of this tiny eastern village allegedly paid a young neo-Nazi to burn down a home for asylum-seekers.

``The indications are thickening″ that villagers took up a collection to pay for the attack, prosecutor Petra Marx said Thursday, adding that she is convinced most of Dolgenbrodt’s 260 residents were involved in some way.

The house in the idyllic, wooded town was set ablaze Nov. 1, 1992, a day before the first of 86 foreigners was to have moved in.

Silvio Jaskowski, then a 19-year-old skinhead, was arrested in May 1993 after bragging at a bar that he had set the fire. He told prosecutors that residents of Dolgenbrodt, 25 miles east of Berlin, had paid him $1,250 to burn the house down and another $6,250 to keep quiet.

Jaskowski was convicted last year of arson and given two years probation.

Town officials have denied his claims.

``Those are just the claims of the convicted arsonist to protect himself,″ said Mayor Karl Pfannenschwarz. ``Nothing has been proven.″

But on Wednesday, a 23-year-old resident, identified only as Marco S., confessed to helping make the firebombs used in the attack, along with his father, Marx said.

He also told prosecutors he arranged the contact between the arsonist and the villagers who made the deal, and provided other important tips in the case, she said.

Another man who allegedly helped in the attack was arrested Wednesday night, Marx said.

A 40-year-old florist, Thomas Oste, was arrested two weeks ago on charges of instigation to arson, and Marx said more arrests of villagers were expected on charges including perjury and being an accessory to arson.

Residents had vehemently opposed the state government decision to set up the home for asylum-seekers in their town, a health resort situated between two lakes.

They reportedly celebrated the fire with a party the next night.

``Nobody here was sad about this solution,″ then-mayor Ute Preissler said at the time.

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