Investigators in Ludwigshafen, Germany are trying to determine if a group of neo nazis (pictured left, German Skinhead rally, 2000) are responsible for setting a suspicious blaze that consumed the interior of a building that housed Turkish immigrants on Sunday, February 3rd.
At least nine people, including five children, were killed in the fire and another 60 injured. Prior to the fire "Hass", the German word for hate, was scrawled next to the door of the building on at least two different occasions.
A photographer captured a dramatic photo of a couple dropping their infant Onur four stories down to a policeman in a desperate effort to save the baby from the smoke and flames - the infant survived the fall.
Sadly German officials and citizens have been dealing with the uncomfortable question of how to stem the tide of facism and white supremacy for years. This latest incident underscores a global rise in hate crime activity against minority groups. Given the state of the economy it's not surprising to see disenfranchised youth venting their frustrations on innocent people that cannot defend themselves.
It's not limited to young men with shaved heads and engineer boots either, Turkish, African and other immigrant groups often deal with subtle race-based discrimination in areas such as housing and access to decent medical care.
Spikes in hate crime activity always take place in times when jobs are scarce and opportunities limited. The signature of hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan has always been violent, cowardly attacks on innocent people. Check out the link to the Southern Poverty Law Center in the upper left to get the latest on hate activity in the US.