Hamburg-Billbrook, Halskestraße 72. It is the night of August 22, 1980. Two members of the terrorist and right-wing extremist organization“Deutsche Aktionsgruppe” carry out a brutal arson attack on a refugee shelter where 240 people are living at the time. Two of them are killed by Molotov cocktails hurled into a room on the first floor: Nguyễn Ngọc Châu, 22, and Đỗ Anh Lân, 18. Both have only been in Germany for a few months at this point.

34 years later, in August 2014, a memorial rally for Nguyễn Ngọc Châu and Đỗ Anh L ân is held again for the first time after the official funeral service in the year of the attack. At this point, the racist murders and their two victims in Hamburg are almost completely forgotten. The rally was called by activists who later formed the group “Initiative for the memory of Nguyễn Ngọc Châu and Đỗ Anh Lân “. emerges. The site of the attack, the former shelter on Halskestraße, is now a hotel.

An appropriate and permanent form of commemoration, the anchoring of the memory of the racist murders in the urban memory – with these demands the activists erect a memorial plaque on this day in August 2014. Only a few hours later, this is removed again on behalf of the hotel management.

The renaming of Neck Street after Nguyễn Ngọc Châu and Đỗ Anh Lân.

The corresponding renaming of the bus stop at the scene.

A permanently installed plaque documenting the events and commemorating the two victims.

With these demands the group appears in public in the period after the erection of the memorial plaque. To do so, as they write on their website,

“To take a stand on the acts and show solidarity towards the victims and their relatives. (…) To remember means to improve the conditions for outlawing neo-Nazism and neo-Nazis. Remembering also means fighting the underlying racist currents that are socially and institutionally operative.”

A selection of press articles on the arson attack and the work of the initiative are linked here , an overview of the annual commemorative rallies held since 2014 can be found here.

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