Neo-Nazis Charged in Germany
May. 24, 2000
ERFURT, Germany (AP) _ Germany's federal prosecutor Wednesday charged three neo-Nazi teen-agers arrested in the attempted arson of a synagogue in this eastern city.
Two, ages 17 and 18, face attempted arson and weapons charges in the April 20 attack _ the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday. They had already been cited just days before for displaying symbols of a banned extreme-right organization.
A third suspect, aged 18, was charged as an accomplice for driving the car to the synagogue. Authorities said he faced lesser charges because the other two only informed him of their intentions when they were already on the way.
According to the indictment, the suspects used empty beer bottles, pieces of cloth, motor oil and charcoal lighter fluid to construct two Molotov cocktails that they threw at the windows of the building. They both missed and failed to start a fire, with one landing on the roof and another hitting the wall. The building was undamaged.
The two teens facing the more serious charges then wrote a note they left in the area claiming responsibility for the attack, authorities said.
The attack prompted widespread outrage in Germany, and citizens of Erfurt formed a human chain around the synagogue after the attack. The state parliament in Thuringia, where Erfurt is the capital, passed a joint declaration insuring Jewish citizens their solidarity.
On Tuesday, Germany's interior minister also launched a government campaign against extremism and intolerance, although the program is short on specifics.