...if you have a different skin color than the local German folks, that is, in Mügeln, a town of roughly 4,700 near Leipzig in the German state of Saxony. Or if you are Jewish (see April 2010 update, below).
A word of caution, in case you are planning to visit Germany, Saxony in particular, for pleasure or for business: You may want to reconsider, or else you could risk getting hurt - even killed.
According to a BBC report on a recent mob assault on eight Indians in this small eastern German town: "All eight Indian men were injured in the attack, in which about 50 Germans chased them through the streets of Muegeln after a fair [...] Muegeln mayor Gotthard Deuse said that "if this was a far-right incident, then the assailants did not come from Muegeln" [...] According to some witnesses quoted by police, the slogans "Foreigners out!" and "national resistance rules here!" were chanted during the assault."
More background on this renaissance of Nazi mobs in modern Germany can be found here and here.
In Mügeln's state of Saxony, the extremist, antisemitic National Democratic Party (NPD) even entered the regional parliament in 2004, after winning more than 9 percent of the vote in an election - more than 70 years after Hitler's nazi party NSDAP came to power in Germany. Unfortunately, that legacy seems to be alive and well in German towns like Mügeln.
As recent as of February 2007, the U.S. Department of State warned: "While U.S. citizens have not been specific targets, several Americans have reported that they were assaulted for racial reasons or because they appeared 'foreign.'" (more here) Following the attacks in Mügeln, the Secretary General of the Jewish Council in Germany, Stephan Kramer, was quoted on the German website "Netzeitung" speaking of "obvious risks" for foreigners in Germany as a "bitter fact."
A bitter irony: Following the Nazi mob attack in Mügeln, Saxony Minister President Georg Milbradt of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) warned against a "rush to judgement." Milbradt said Saxony was a place "open to the world." He described the Mügeln incident as "economically damaging" to Saxony.
Well, that certainly is an interesting way to put it. We say: If that's where it hurts, let's make them really feel the pain. Make them pay!
What is the purpose of this page and the "Domain of Shame" concept?
Each year, the government of Saxony and the German federal government spend millions to attract international business and tourists to its charming landscapes and towns - like Mügeln. Thanks to Internet search engines, a small domain registration fee and setting up a basic webpage like this one in the US can go a long way towards pointing out some sad facts behind the fancy brochures and websites - thus promoting safe travel, protecting lives and encouraging the town folks of places like Mügeln to stand up against nazism and racism.
If you agree with this approach (please read on below), you can really help prevent further nazi hate crimes in Mügeln, Saxony and elsewhere in Germany from happening. All it takes is to simply put a link to this page, www.muegeln.com, on your blog or personal homepage! If you found this page because you are planning to travel to or through Germany, and are concerned about your safety, please ask the German National Tourist Board if, and where, it is safe to travel!
Who we are: This "Domain of Shame" was created by a group of friends who don't buy, never have, the official German version: that the still all-too common racist violence against foreigners in Germany is an East German phenomenon, an unfortunate side effect of German re-unification, so to speak. We know first-hand that similar attacks have been common since the 1970s, long before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 - against Turkish "guest workers," against Vietnamese and Iranian refugees, against Africans, against African-Americans and, again, against Jews. Since 1990, more than 130 foreign and German-born men and women have died as victims of racially motivated, rightwing extremist violence in Germany, the majority actually in the West. A chronology of recent attacks, as reported by Germany's Stern magazine, can be found here (in German).
We are sick and tired of the official downplay by many German politicians and diplomats abroad, and of the indifference and silent consent of the average "Hans" and "Hildegard" in places like Mügeln. We know that many people in Germany feel about this like we do.
We could have printed a t-shirt, but someone else had already come up with a good one: Mügeln, the T-Shirt. Made in Germany.
We cannot do it alone. So, please, next time your learn about a town like Mügeln, spend a few bucks and register a .COM domain in their name in the US. Create a "Domain of Shame" page like this one. Optimize it for the search engines so it comes up whenever someone in the English-speaking world wants to know more about that town and Germany, as a business location or travel destination. Respect the (copyright) laws and your provider's hosting policy. Exercise your freedom of speech, but stick to the facts, and provide links to reliable sources for page visitors to verify them. Provide contact information of German officials for inquiries if things have changed, or for page visitors to express their opinion about what happened in that particular town.
"Leipzig.com", "Dresden.com" or "Berlin.com" are already taken? If further attacks in other towns and cities make it necessary, get creative! "Destination-leipzig.com" may still be available. Or Mainz-Guntersblum-Germany.com (read this in Spiegel Online about the most recent violence against Africans in this West German town. Except for the basic legal requirements, we would advise you to not disclose your identity, unless you enjoy being the target of neo-Nazi nutcases.
Who knows? Let's say you receive proof of real changes in your "adopted" town - like the copy of a significant check written by the town to a renown organization for victims of racist violence. Or news reports of government or law enforcement officials getting canned, or voted out, as a consequence of their inability, or unwillingness, to stand up against such racist attack/s on their watch. Or a local judge, and higher courts, awarding the victims of such hate crimes high damages, like in the US to be paid by the perpetrators - and those who instigated the violence with hate propaganda. Then, perhaps, you might even consider handing the domain over to "your" town's Convention & Visitors Bureau or Office of Economic Development.
But that's entirely up to you.
Muegeln UPDATE: In October 2007, prosecutors in the city of Leipzig charged three men in connection with the assault. The men, aged 18, 23 and 35, were charged with incitement. The 23-year-old faces the additional charge of damage to property. They said investigations regarding another suspect, aged 22, were continuing. A linked investigation was still underway, with four Germans and four Indians under investigation, prosecutors said. No word about any of the other participants in the Muegeln mob assault.
Update Dresden, Saxony: On July 1st, 2009 an Egyptian woman, Marwa Sherbini, was stabbed to death in a courtroom in Dresden, Germany, not far from Mügeln. She was pregnant. The crime is believed to be racially motivated. Her husband, who tried to protect her when she was attacked in the courtroom by a German defendant whom she had sued over racist slurs, was mistakenly shot by police (source: CNN).
Sherbini moved to Dresden with her husband Elwi Ali Okaz, who studied genetic engineering in the renowned Max Planck Institute. The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask how the Max Planck Institutes in Germany will protect visiting students and scientists and their families against racist violence while in Germany. Remember, Sherbini was not even protected in a public court building in Dresden / Saxony, after standing up against racism! If you are a researcher or scientist invited to work in Dresden, Germany, ask your hosting institution how they will protect you and your family. Is it time for a "Dresden Domain of Shame?"
Let the Mayor of Mügeln know what you think about Nazi mobs attacking foreigners in the streets of his town. Contact him at
April 2010 Update: On Apr. 27, a soccer tournament with a visiting team in Muegeln had to be terminated, due to antisemitic and other extremist agression from local fans of the Muegeln team.Source: Spiegel Online about antisemitic aggression in Muegeln near Leipzig, Germany (April 2010)
Update April 2010: Let the townsfolk of Muegeln, Germany know what you think of the blatant racist and antisemitic aggression in their midst, in 2010 in Saxony, Gemany (near Leipzig). Following the most recent antisemitic incident, we think it is time to also express our concern to Muegeln's "Stadtmarketing" (Destination Marketing) initiative. Click the link below for email addresses and other contact information of Stadtmarketing Muegeln on the Destination Marketing Homepage of Muegeln in Saxony, Germany. For clarification: By suggesting this, we do not in any way intend to imply that Muegeln Stadtmarketing approves of the recent anti-semitic aggression displayed by fellow locals. They may even be among those in Muegeln who try to stop it. For that, it seems, they need all the help they can get, so please be polite, and send them tons of email in support of that cause, which they can show to their town fathers!
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