Skip to main content

Germany: Hanau Shootings

Officials Point to “Xenophobic” Motives

A man places flowers near a shisha bar where several people were killed on Wednesday night in Hanau, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. A 43-year-old German man shot and killed several people at more than one location in a Frankfurt suburb overnight in attacks that appear to have been motivated by far-right beliefs, officials said Thursday.  © 2020 Martin Meissner/AP


(Berlin) – The shootings in Hanau, near Frankfurt (Hesse), on the night of February 19, 2020, were despicable acts of violence, Human Rights Watch said today.

“Wednesday night’s killings in Hanau are a stark reminder of the threat to our rights by people who are driven by hate or by violent extremist views,” said Wenzel Michalski, Germany director at Human Rights Watch. “This is a time for compassion for the families of the victims and respect and care for our neighbors. That is a crucial defense against the fear and division that those who commit these attacks want to create.”

According to official sources, nine people were killed in two shootings at separate shisha bars in the town of Hanau. The suspected attacker and his mother were later found dead at his home.

Human Rights Watch expresses its deepest sympathies to all those affected by the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility for the shootings, but prosecutors and police said the evidence pointed to “far-right” and “xenophobic” motives. Media sources have meanwhile released a document believed to be the attacker’s manifesto, with a clear racially motivated agenda for the attack.

Hate-motivated, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic attacks are a growing problem in Germany. An October 2019 shooting at a synagogue in Halle in Saxony-Anhalt left two people dead and two others injured. Official figures disclosed last October showed that 12,500 “politically motivated” criminal offenses, a category that includes hate crimes, were attributed to the far-right in the first 8 months of 2019.

Your tax deductible gift can help stop human rights violations and save lives around the world.

Region / Country