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Danziger Platz, Ludwigshafen
[German Images - Looking for Evidence 2006-2008]
66.5 x 53.5 cm (image) 81 x 69 cm (sheet)
Provided by the artist - Eva Leitolf
On 3 February 2008 four adults and five children died in a fire in a tenement house largely populated by Turkish people in the centre of Ludwigshafen. More than sixty people were injured. Even before the fire investigators had begun their work, several Turkish newspapers were writing of a 'second Solingen' (referring to a racist arson attack in 1993) and reporting alleged right-wing extremist threats against the house's Turkish owner. Additionally, they wrote, an anti-Turkish slogan had been painted on the wall close to the scene of the fire. Turkey sent its own experts to work together with the German authorities, while the Council of Citizens of Turkish Extraction in Germany warned against jumping to conclusions. Just one day after the fire the state premier of Rhineland-Palatinate categorically excluded the possibility of arson. According to Ludwigshafen city council there had been a skinhead meeting place on the ground floor more than ten years ago, but those premises been a completely normal pub directly before the building was sold to the Turkish family. Whether threats had been made against the present owner still had to be verified, a council spokesperson said. In summer 2006 two fire-bombs were thrown into the building, which at that time housed a Turkish cultural centre. No damage was caused and the perpetrators were not caught. Concerning the fire in 2008, at a press conference on 4 March the state prosecution service said that it was working on the theory that the fire had been caused by negligence, through a slow smouldering fire under the cellar stairs, and that there was no evidence for a racist attack.