German soldiers attack youths in racist rampage

Spectre of pogrom returns to embarrass army

The German army's long march to international respectability suffered a reverse in the small town of Detmold on Monday night, as 10 of its soldiers marked out for peace-keeping duty staged a mini-pogrom.

Shouting "Wogs out of Germany", the uniformed conscripts in combat helmets rampaged through the centre in search of foreigners, attacking a 16-year- old Italian boy and two Turkish youths with baseball bats, knives and spades.

All 10 were soldiers of the 3rd Panzer Battalion, stationed at a barracks named after Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. They had completed two months of training in the Bundeswehr (army), and were about to be transferred to Bosnia. "They were to help foreigners," said Major Uwe Hindsches, the battalion's deputy commander. The guilty 10, he assured the public, were now off the Bosnia list.

The perpetrators were aged 20, most had come to the west German base from the east, and there appeared to be no doubt of their racist intentions. After a heavy night's drinking, they set off from their last watering hole at about half-past nine, hunting for "Kanacken" - the derogatory term for Turks.

The Italian was the first to stumble into their way. They beat him up, threatened to slit his throat and left him lying on the pavement. "Where are the wogs?" they asked passers-by. The two Turks, aged 16 and 17 respectively, appeared to fit the bill, and were duly kicked senseless. The lads themselves sustained no injuries.

It was only a few days ago that German troops were hailed for their gallantry and newly found self-confidence. They were the heroes of last Friday's chaotic evacuation of Westerners from Albania, at one point exchanging fire with local thugs.

Now Germans are wondering whether the lessons in assertiveness might have gone a bit too far. A spokesman from the Rommel barracks stressed yesterday that the conscripts had also been lectured on how to deal with foreigners, but the subject of neo-Nazism was not on the "political studies" syllabus.

The top brass, who in a report issued last week found no evidence of organised right-wing extremism in the Bundeswehr, were quick to apologise for the attack. "We express our regret to our foreign citizens for the soldiers' shameful actions," said Volker Ruhe, the Defence Minister, and the army's chief of staff, General Hartmut Bagger, in a joint statement. They vowed to pursue "all possible legal and disciplinary measures" against the Detmold 10, one of whom was still on the run last night.

No links to extremist organisations have so far been uncovered, though police are aware that the neo-Nazis have a centre near Detmold. The army keeps a close watch on extremists within its ranks. According to the latest annual report, 56 soldiers - including 11 NCO's and one lieutenant - were convicted last year of racism. A 22-year-old former soldier is due to go on trial next month for the attempted murder of an Italian, an attack allegedly motivated by xenophobia.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star