German town says 'No' to neo-Nazis

Aug. 15, 2006 at 7:38 AM
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DELMENHORST, Germany, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- The citizens of a small German town are fighting the sale of a hotel over fears it will be turned into a neo-Nazi meeting point.

A neo-Nazi lawyer, Juergen Rieger, has announced he wants to buy an out-of-business hotel in Delmenhorst, a town of 80,000 near Bremen, to turn it into a venue where far-right parties and neo-Nazi organizations can meet.

Rieger, who has defended several prominent neo-Nazis, including Holocaust denier Ernst Zuendel, is willing to pay $4.3 million for the hotel.

The citizens of Delmenhorst are outraged by the plan, and have started to raise money to put the hotel in the hands of the public.

They have raised roughly $850,000, which is not enough to thwart the sale, despite the city's plans to donate a further $2.4 million.

The sale could be finalized as early as Wednesday, but city officials, who fear their town could become a battleground for clashes between far-right and far-left groups, have not yet given up.

"Every euro makes a difference," Mayor Carsten Schwettmann said in a statement. "It is a sign of the solidarity and commitment of the town."

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