Man Reportedly Tried Burning Memorial of Gay Holocaust Victims

( – A German man has been arrested on suspicion of carrying out an arson attack on a memorial to victims of Nazi genocide. The target was a monument to homosexuals persecuted under Hitler’s regime. The suspect is also believed to have been behind two other attacks in the German capital.

Between August 12 and August 14, three LGB sites in Berlin were hit by arson attacks. Over the weekend, a retired phone booth at the Berlin-Grunewald railway station, which had been converted to a “book box” holding literature about the persecution of gays and lesbians under the Nazi regime, was set on fire. The station’s Platform 17 has a memorial to Holocaust victims because trains left from there to concentration camps in the east, and the book box is part of that memorial.

Also, at the weekend, the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism in the city’s Tiergarten Park was attacked. A security guard saw the perpetrator attaching slips of paper, which turned out to carry anti-gay Bible quotes, to the stone monument and then throw a burning object at it. Then, on August 14, a lesbian community center in the working-class Neukölln district –- which has a history of far-right arson attacks –- reported an attempt to burn it down. Pro-Nazi notes of graffiti were found at all three crime scenes, all of them signed “Kassandros.”

On August 15, police arrested a 63-year-old man at his home in Berlin-Baumschulenweg on suspicion of carrying out all three attacks. The Berlin public prosecutor’s office says he has accepted full responsibility for the offenses, although they don’t yet know his motives and are investigating his mental health. Meanwhile, the newspaper Die Tageszeitung says he is likely responsible for previous attacks. A vigil was planned for August 20 at Grunewald station to “gather new strength” for the fight against Germany’s resurgent extreme right.

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