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Postcard from... Berlin


Friedrichshain is one of those trendy east Berlin boroughs better known for all-night bars, and student protests than  far-right violence.

So what happened to Hussein B last week has shocked the district’s predominantly young, left-wing inhabitiants. Husein B comes from Egypt. He has been living in Germany for nearly 20 years. Eight months ago he opened a restaurant in Friedrichshain called Costallino. Last week, when he opened the front door of Costallino after returning from his day off, “Foreigners Out” was daubed in large black letters on the walls. So was “88” – the neo-Nazi symbol for “Heil Hitler”. Everything inside was smashed, with the entire interior said to be sprayed with powder from fire extinguishers. “I can’t just ignore this,” Hussein B told Berlin’s Morgenpost newspaper, “These people have ruined my livelihood,” he added.

Berlin police say they are looking for a group of 14 neo-Nazis who are suspected of carrying out the attack. The incident happened around the same time as the election of the first Euro MP for the far-right, anti-immigration, German National Democratic Party during last week’s European elections. Udo Voigt has previously called Adolf Hitler “a great man”. His party won just over 1 per cent of the vote.