Skinheads on trial for 'racist' murder

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WUPPERTAL (Reuter) - Two German skinheads and a Polish-born bar owner went on trial yesterday accused of kicking and burning a fellow German to death because they thought he was Jewish.

The three defendants listened impassively as the prosecutor, Hans Jochen Busem, gave a harrowing account of the death 14 months ago of Karl Hans Rohn, aged 53. Mr Busem said the neo-Nazi skinheads told police they had had a drinking match with Rohn, a Wuppertal butcher, in a pub owned by Marian Jan Glensk, an ethnic German from Poland.

After someone suggested, apparently wrongly, that the butcher was half-Jewish, one skinhead knocked him off his bar stool and both kicked him with their jackboots as he lay on the floor, Mr Busem said.

'Auschwitz must be opened up again. Jews must burn,' Mr Glensk was said to have screamed. The two skinheads - Andreas Wember, a 17- stone man aged 26, and Michael Senf, 20, allegedly poured alcohol on Rohn and set him alight.

The victim, unconscious and with broken ribs, bruises and severe burns to his chest and stomach, was bundled into a car and Mr Senf allegedly sat on him during the

60-mile drive from Wuppertal, north-east of Cologne, to Venlo, just across the Dutch border. Rohn died of his injuries and his body was dumped in the Netherlands. The defendants were caught days later and are accused of murder.

Yesterday, police staged 52 separate dawn raids on members of the far-right group Direct Action/Middle Germany (JF) across northern and eastern Germany, seizing propaganda material as evidence for a possible ban.