By Justin Huggler | 30 September 2016
THE TELEGRAPH — (BERLIN) The mayor of a village in Germany had to be hospitalised after he was severely beaten in a suspected far-Right attack over his support for asylum-seekers.
Joachim Kebschull, the mayor of Oersdorf in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, was attacked from behind as he walked to a planning meeting on Thursday night.
The 61-year-old was beaten with a club by unknown assailants who fled after he lost consciousness.
Police believe the attack is linked to the mayor’s support for plan to accommodate asylum-seekers in the village.
Hours before the attack, he received a threatening letter which contained the phrases “He who will not listen will have to feel” and “Oersdorf for the Oersdorfers”.
The tiny village of just 870 people has been the scene of growing tension in recent weeks.
The planning committee meeting had already been postponed twice over bomb threats, and police had secured the site ahead of Thursday’s planned session.
Germany has suffered a wave of violent attacks targeting refugee shelters and politicians who support asylum-seekers over the past 12 months.
Henriette Reker, the mayor of Cologne, nearly died when she was stabbed by a protestor over her refugee policy last year.
A German government report released earlier this month warned that the former communist east is at threat of “social unrest” amid growing support for the far-Right and violence against foreigners.
The controversy in Oersdorf, in the former west, is centred on a building currently being redeveloped as subsidised local housing.
The consituency association wants to offer one of the apartments to asylum-seeekers.
“If we could also offer a family of refugees a new home in our village, we would like to take this opportunity and make a small contribution to people who had to flee their homes,” the association said in a statement on its website.
The association condemned the “treacherous and underhand” attack on the mayor and vowed not to be intimidated.
Mr Kebschull escaped with minor injuries, and was already able to answer questions, police said.
Meanwhile police had to intervene after some 50 asylum-seekers rioted and attacked security guards at a shelter in Berlin.
Asylum-seekers broke into an office at the shelter, vandalised it and stole personal belonging of the security guards. A car parked outside was also vandalised.
Police said the cause of the violence was unclear, but that it appeared to have been planned.
“The nature of the incident suggests that it was not spontaneous,” a police spokesman said.
Relations between residents and staff at the centre were known to be bad following an earlier incident in May.